5 Tips for Taking Better Vacation Photos

When traveling I do my best to take photos that will properly tell the story of my experience.  Not only do I want memories for myself, I want beautiful memories I can share with others. That’s why it’s important for me to share my experience in a way that allows people an inside look at what I am seeing, doing, and eating (duh!), and allows for their own wanderlust to be sparked.  

I am by NO means a professional photographer, nor do I make any claims that my photos are outstanding in any way. However, I have gotten better! I am learning not only how to take better photos, but also which photos tell better stories, and which photos tell MY story. Today I thought I would share a few of my tips with you, and show you how those ideas have played out here in my first few days in Italy.  

Give Context

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Oftentimes, we share photos on social media, etc and we want them to do a good job of furthering our story. Besides words and captions, I try to make my photos do that on their own. 


For instance, the other day I had lunch at this phenomenal restaurant. The food was delicious but also so well presented. It was beautiful. But was even more beautiful was the view from this restaurant! It was such a part of the experience to be able to eat this amazing food with these views in the background, so I wanted to showcase that.  I got “caught” in the act, but this just gives you a better idea of my process and also the outcome.

Capture Special Meanings


The first hotel I stayed at was this gorgeous countryside restored villa. Everything about this place was peaceful and serene.  The first night, I decided to sleep with my window open, and I woke up to soft breezes, birds chirping, and the smell of fresh croissants. It was the best experience ever. I live in the heart of Los Angeles— which means I wake up to cars honking, helicopters overhead, and neighbors screaming at each other on a daily basis. No lie. This to me was heaven.

Special bonus: When you want to take photos of anything in your room, the best thing you can do is open the windows and let in beautiful natural light. It always makes for better photos!

Don’t forget the details


When you travel it’s super easy to take photos of the obvious things. Especially in places like Italy.  Oh, the Colosseum! Here’s St. Peter’s Basilica! Another gorgeous cathedral! Look at the Duomo! But sometimes you are wandering down a side street and see various flower pots, or a bike sitting against the wall— whatever it is that makes you feel something. I always try and take photos of that too. I think of it as sharing big picture and small picture. It’s nice to have a mix.

Make photos of you “lifestyle” whenever possible


Not everyone appreciates having their picture taken like I do, so this might not come so naturally, but I encourage you to pretend you aren’t having your photo taken when you are. Posed photos are fine, but you can only replicate that same smile and stand in front of every. single. thing. so many times. Your photos then start to look like you just cut and pasted yourself. If you are with friends or someone close, this becomes easier, but I ask complete strangers to take my picture all the time, and give them instructions like “I’m just gonna do such and such, don’t wait for me to pose, just take a few photos while I’m moving. And even when I am posing, if I get a photo in there when I was caught off guard or someone made me laugh, it’s always my favorite. 

Make other people your subject


At the risk of being super creepy and voyeuristic, I enjoy having a few photos of random people on purpose. It adds to the story and also does a really good job of telling the story. So, as much as I love being in my own photos, I am happy to not insert myself in all of them. The trick is not letting people know you’re taking a photo of them, because soon after this meat guy caught me he was smiling and posing, which was not what I was after! LOL.


I hope you found this a tiny bit helpful. I will have so many photos to share with you from Italy, so make sure you we are connected on Facebook and Instagram, where I do most of my sharing, and I can’t wait to see your photos from your next travel adventure.