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Vacation Photos, You Might Be Doing Them Wrong

At least I think that's a dolphin...

The only thing worse than not getting any vacation photos is having to suffer through someone else’s vacation photos, that is, unless that someone else knows how to take a decent vacation photo, which a lot of people aren’t quite able to do unfortunately. You end up looking through two hundred photos of what looks like the same shoreline or a blurry photo of some far away something that they swear is really interesting and important. I’ve seen plenty of vacation photos, many of them from cruises, and from the mistakes of others I have learned what not to do when taking photos on a cruise.

  • Pay attention to who’s in the background before you snap, you’re on a boat full of lots of people and chances are some of them will have very different fashion choices than you. It’s totally fine if you catch a stranger here and there, but what if your favorite photo of your spouse ends up having an elderly bikini clad woman in the background? I mean, if that’s your thing, but I don’t know many people who would want to hang that on their wall forever and ever (or worse, have it as their desktop background.)
  • Pay attention to what’s coming out of peoples’ heads. My mom drilled this one into my brain and I still goof on occasion. There’s a lot of things on a ship or on a beach, be careful that some palm fronds aren’t giving your loved ones antlers or a mast on the ship isn’t causing antennae to sprout from your kid’s head.
  • Put people in your pictures. Yay! So that’s where you ate dinner, huh? Well, it’s kind of a boring picture if no one I know is in it. I could look up a picture of that restaurant online anytime, why should I look at yours? Yes, you want to remember the places you went and the things you saw, but at least attempt to make them interesting or prove you were there by getting in the shot yourself.
  • Get close, unless you’re attempting to show scale. Huge palm tree? Have your kid stand under it and take the picture, otherwise I’m not going to have any idea how tall that tree actually is unless I have something to compare it to. Do you still really need a picture of the palm tree? Get right up underneath it and shoot up, that will give your viewer the best idea of just how tall the tree actually was. Same goes for ocean photos, if you can’t tell what’s in the water that you took a picture of? Chances are we can’t either.

At least I think that's a dolphin...

  • Your family has feet! Take photos of them! Meaning, don’t cut your loved ones off at the ankles, take the extra second to adjust and get their whole bodies in the shot. can’t get their feet in? Get closer and cut them off at the hips.

Taken by a seven year old, she tried.

  • Bright sun is brutal for photos, wait for the sun to be setting, or just barely set to get the best light and the most flattering photos to brag about to all your co workers, otherwise you’ll have a memory book full of squinty or sunglass clad photos.
  • If a couple asks you to take their picture, ask them to take yours, otherwise you’ll get to the end of your cruise and realize you don’t have a single photo of you with your family unless you count the long arm shots taken after a few cocktails (great for facebook, not for grandma.)

It can seem a bit overwhelming to keep so many things in mind when taking pictures, but the more you scan and pay attention to your surroundings the easier it will get to notice the little things that are off. Then again, sometimes the outtakes are the funniest ones of the whole trip, so maybe you shouldn’t pay attention to me at all.

Not taken on a cruise, but something in this photo sure is cruising.

Don’t forget to check out my post about the best camera to bring with you on your cruise!

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A big thanks to Norwegian Cruise Line for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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