With these 5 steps you will always take the perfect shot
This post is also available in: Dutch
Does this sound familiar? You see a beautiful holiday photo of a friend and think: “That’s amazing, how is it possible that my photos don’t turn out like that?” We’ve got great news: you can definitely take the perfect shot too! And even better, it doesn’t take much. Just a phone and some crucial tips. With only a few factors to keep in mind, your shots will be Instagram-worthy in no time. Let’s step up your camera game so you’ll have a collection of holiday photos that are just as beautiful as the memories that you created.
One of the main pain points of a holiday is not being able to capture the beauty of what we see with our own eyes. We want to see a beautiful shot and think back on the amazing time we had during our break. The amazing photos that we see online can look impossible to take ourselves. What if we told you that you’ve got it in you to take these shots? Even as a non-professional photographer with only a smartphone at your disposal, you can snap those unforgettable views. With these 5 steps, you’ll become the holiday photographer that people aspire to be. All you need is your smartphone and beautiful surroundings.
1. The right time of day
This step helps you to have the base of a good shot, and it’s useful for many reasons. The first one is, you guessed it, lighting, lighting, lighting. It’s a familiar tip, but what do we mean with good lighting? There are different factors that play a part in using the right lighting.
First of all, the time of day can have a great impact on your photo. The worst time to take shots is in the middle of the day, where the sun is high and hot, while shadows ruin the view and colours fade. It’s preferable to take photos in the morning or during the golden hour. Golden hour is at the end of the day. Depending on your destination, this can be late afternoon or at the beginning of the evening, around half an hour to an hour before sunset. During the morning and golden hour, the sun is lower, which gives your surroundings a wonderfully vibrant colour and atmosphere. A bonus for these times; there will be fewer tourists, which makes it easier to leave people out of your shot.
It’s also important to keep in mind where to locate yourself. The rule of thumb is to have the sun behind you. Having the sun in front of you will make your photo dark and lose the magic. With the sun behind you, your subject will be beautifully lit. Make sure to position yourself in between the sun and your view for the best result. Do you want to take a photo of a person? Seek the shade, this gives a smoother light and captures faces beautifully.
However, there are ways to make great use of the sun in front of you. With some practise, you can find the perfect angle to create silhouettes with the sun, and boom, you just made a breathtaking shot.
2. Explore the area that you want to shoot
Are you someone who gets excited upon seeing an amazing view and starts taking photos right away? We like your enthusiasm! Even though that’s the spirit that you need to take the perfect shot, we advise you to take some time to examine the place where you’re at. There are thousands of angles from which you can shoot, and the ideal one might just be around the corner or even 6 steps further. Take a few minutes to walk around, take in the view, and of course; enjoy it! This is not just the time that you take the shot, but also what you will remember when you take a look at your photo in a few months. It will also save you a lot of time spent on taking photos and give you more time to enjoy the view. After a few minutes, you’ll be able to find the right spot to take your shot. And then it’s shooting time!
3. The angle of your smartphone
That brings us to the next step, how to hold your smartphone. It’s a challenge to hold your phone exactly where you want it to be and capture everything correctly. With a few steps, you will always make sure to have the right angle. Step 1 is, ironically, to take a step back. Or a few, it’s up to you. This will give you a good overview of your shot, while you make sure to capture everything you want to have in the picture. You can always crop your photo later. Step 2 is to keep your phone straight instead of facing up or down. This will make your shot realistic without having unusual shapes. Step 3 is to keep the rule of thirds in mind. This is a handy tool to compose your image in the best visual way. The goal is to find the right composition for your subjects to be placed. You do this by dividing your shot into thirds, as you imagine two lines horizontally and vertically across your shot. This will give you nine frames. Make sure to place your subject along the lines or in the intersections of the lines, such as the top left or bottom right. And click! You have just made a perfectly composed shot. Following the rule of thirds is of course no must in terms of making the perfect image. However, it does make most of your photos interesting and interactive.
4. Don’t wait for the perfect pose
It’s logical to think that we need to wait for the right moment to take that perfect shot. That often leads to people posing in unnatural ways. Instead of waiting for the right moment for people to leave or pose in a certain way, just go for it! You’ll see that these action photos will result in beautifully candid images that can take your breath away. It’s all about the memories and seeing someone’s sincere reaction in the photos will forever remind you of the wonderful time you had during your vacation.
It’s a straightforward one, but nevertheless a crucial step; practise! Get out to find the right lighting in the mornings and golden hours, try the different positions between the sun, the object and yourself, make portraits at home to train your angles, and find those natural moments where you can capture people’s sincere reactions. The more you practise, the easier it becomes to find the right timing. This will not only result in the best images you will ever make, but it will also save you a lot of time to get that perfect shot. Most of all, it will become a lot of fun and you’ll enjoy your holiday even more.
Bonus tips: inspiration for creative shots
Now that you know all the steps to take the ideal holiday photo, it’s time for some inspiration to take your image to the next level. Here are some ideas to make your image go from “beautiful” to “breathtaking”:
- Use reflection to give your image an extra angle, such as mirrors, water, or shiny objects.
- Missed golden hour? Use the sunset to capture silhouettes for a dreamy vibe.
- Shoot in bad weather. We usually wait for the perfect sunshine, but a good shot in the rain is highly underestimated. Try it!
- Create perspective by putting someone in the picture (preferably in colourful clothing) to show contrast and make the image look special and interactive.
And there you have it! Make sure to practise these steps and on your next trip, you’ll be a pro at taking holiday shots. They’ll be totally Instagram-worthy and become memories that last a lifetime. From now on, your images will just be as beautiful as the destinations you remember.