8 Ways to Take the Best Vacation Pics Ever

Your vacation is 💯. Now let's make sure your pics look 💯, too.

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Tip No. 1: Avoid Overused Travel Hashtags (Make Your Own Instead!)

Why be one in 10 million (10,681,504, to be precise) "beachlife" hashtags when you could use hashtags to create your own photo album? Artist and skater Ed Templeton uses #dailyhbpierphoto to archive the photos he takes at Huntington Beach. Follow his lead and come up with hashtags that are unique to you and your trip. And don't be afraid to use your hashtags to bring attention to strange happenings in the photo. Everyone loves a good #whenyouseeit.

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Tip No. 2: Show Us the Landscape

If you're lining up against a beautiful backdrop for a picture, make sure you show off that landscape! A good compositional rule of thumb is to get as much of the scene around you in the frame as possible. This will show off the stunning spot you visited—and give you bonus points for being there!

Tip No. 3: Now Show Us the Details

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A great vacation isn't just about the big things you notice. It's the small details that often make a trip memorable. Stumble across a bunch of flowers you've never seen before? A wall of original street art? Even architectural details can make for an interesting shot. Detail photos alongside the larger ones will help give your friends the full picture when they scroll through your album.

Tip No. 4: Take Full Advantage of Apps

When traveling, editing apps are your friend! Don't spend too much time on your trip with your nose in your phone trying to find the perfect filter, or you'll miss out. Wait until you have some downtime or are in transit to begin the process. Apps like VSCO are amazing at helping make your images look both high-quality and consistent. Pro tip: Adjusting the brightness and contrast before adding a filter will really make your images stand out.

Tip No. 5: Bring an Actual, Real-Life Camera

Your phone is great for capturing spur-of-the-moment shots, but when you know that you'll want to document your entire day, you should also bring a camera along. Not only will a point-and-shoot have more megapixels, which will make your photos clearer and more vibrant, but it will also keep you from becoming distracted by other things, like the Snap your best friend just sent you. If you're focused on what's around you, you'll enjoy yourself way more.

Tip No. 6: Try Shooting on Film

One of the many pleasures of photography in the past was picking up your developed prints and flipping through the physical photographs. In addition to the joy of prints, there are a few other benefits to bringing back the film camera. First, you don't have to waste your time on apps that simply emulate the look of film—you get the real deal. Second, you are forced to be much more selective about what you photograph, because every image counts on a roll of 24 or 36 exposures. And finally, shooting on 35mm film can actually be quicker than shooting on a smartphone (despite what they've told you.) Bring along a disposable, pick it up, snap, done. Fun, beautiful shots that will end up being much more meaningful than 15 taps on a screen.

Tip No. 7: Swap Cameras With Your Friends

Yeah, we love posing in front of palm trees, but our favorite photos are always candid shots. If you've figured out a way to take a candid photo of yourself, then you are a genius and please Snap us your secret. If not, then there's a really simple way to capture your truest memories: give your camera to your friend and ask them to take photos of you.

Tip No. 8: Put Your Camera Down and Enjoy the Trip

The time has come to unplug. It's 5 o'clock somewhere, and your digits probably need a break anyway.

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