10 tips for Better Photos on Vacation! part 1

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I get this question all the time! Friends are headed out on a great trip and they want to come home with some rad photos. Who doesn't?? So here are my 10 tips for better photos on vacation that anyone can do and will really make a difference! Tip 1: Have the camera READY. Do whatever you need to do to have that thing on and in your hands. Carry your other stuff in a backpack. Figure it out. I am constantly on the lookout for cross-body bags that I can wear on vacation that leave my hands free for my camera. Things happen quick. You want to be ready to snap when you see something cool.

I love this photo above shot in Paris. It happened so incredibly quickly I can not believe I even got it. And you would never know it but there are about 2 thousand people all around me as this is the Louvre. This girl was playing in the water for 1 second before her parents called her over to them. If my camera was not in my hands and ready it would never have happened. I have this photo printed large in my house and so do a few other people! It reminds me to be ready.

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This photo was shot coming out of a subway in Portugal. The birds started flying as soon as we walked up and they were gone so quickly that if my camera wasn't on and in my hands this photo simply would not have happened.

Tip 2: Set aside time ALONE to just wander. Get lost. Follow your gut for a couple hours. Discover a beautiful or interesting spot, sit down, and wait for something to happen. This really does not work with a companion. I promise you. I have been trying it with and without companions for 20 years now and I can state without hesitation that the wandering with a companion does not result in as much magic as the wandering alone. Of course I get great shots when I'm with someone and we are doing our thing. But if you set aside a couple hours to wander alone you will be amazed at what comes from it!

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These 2 beauties were shot on wandering walks in India. One at night, one in the morning. I still remember how present I felt just being alone and observing my surroundings.

Tip 3: Pay for a guide. This can really help if you are not getting what you want on your own. Sometimes on trips I have things set in my mind that I really want to capture on that trip. For example, on a trip to Bali I had it in my head that I was going to capture rice paddy tiers. I figured they would be everywhere and I would be getting them all day every day. But by the last day I had only seen rice paddy fields and not the tiers, and I was getting super bummed out. Am I really going to leave tomorrow with out this? So for the first time ever I went to a group of taxi drivers and started explaining what I was looking for. One said- I know exactly where to take you. I decided to trust him, got in the car, and boom.

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He took me to the exact place I was hoping to find, complete with someone working which I love because I prefer people in my landscapes. The whole trip took less than an hour and only a few dollars and taught me that sometimes paying someone to make it happen for you is awesome.

Do any of you have any stories about asking for help or paying for a guide? I'd love to hear them as this isn't something I do all the time, but every time I do I wonder why I don't more often! Post a comment below!!

In the meantime, think of friends and family with trips coming up and share this post with them! Use the links below! And of course come back next week for Part 2...