How to Take Better Vacation Pictures

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One of the main things on everyone’s packing list is a camera. It doesn’t matter if it’s a phone camera, a point-and-shoot, or a DSLR with interchangeable lenses – what makes a great photo memory of a vacation is how you take the picture, not what you take the picture with.

Good vacation pictures start with being able to simply compose an image.

What is composition?

It all starts with composition, which is basically deciding exactly what you are taking a picture of and How you can bring focus to it for the viewer.

If you want to take better vacation pictures, then follow these simple rules of composition.

Do Not Center Your Subject; this concept in art terms is called Rule of Thirds:

“An image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important composition elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. It is believed that by aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.”

Lines and Curves

Lines are used to direct the viewers attention to the subject of your photograph. Without us being aware of it, our brain looks for lines that lead us to the subject of the picture. These lines can be straight, diagonal, wavy, or any other creative variation. They can be roads, fences, shadows or mountain landscapes. To be most effective, you should try to create your overall composition so that the lines appear to be moving in or out of a corner(s) of the image.


Framing in composition is something that frames your main subject to call even more attention to it.  Framing brings more depth to the picture and a better focus on what the main subject is.


Photography is about going slow and being attentive to light, reflections, and angles. Of course you can look for reflections in bodies of water, like lakes, rivers, and streams. But push yourself further and look for reflections in windows, puddles, fountains, and even beverages.


Most of us see something we want to photograph, put the camera up to our eye level and click. However photography is about moving; crouching, standing on things, putting your camera on the ground and changing perspectives.

If you follow these simple rules for your next trip you’ll come back with pictures you are proud to share.

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Sandy Harrison
I am a classically trained portrait artist with over thirty years of experience. I reside in Mint Hill with my husband, Doug. Together, we own Photographic Elegance, the only brick and mortar professional portrait studio located in Mint Hill. I love travel, hockey, my two grown sons and spending time with my two grandsons. Happy Click’n!

Professional Photographers of America,
Mint Hill Arts, Vice President
Matthews Art Guild,
SE Art Council,
Mint Hill Chamber Board of Directors