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18 Easy Tricks to Never Take a Bad Vacation Photo Again

Here's how to make your vacation shots look like they were taken by professionals.

The yellow leaves of yellow birch in autumn in the backlight / Autumn leaves yellow birch Bastian Kienitz/Shutterstock

Use backlight

Backlighting—where the light comes from behind your subject toward your camera—can make semi-translucent subjects such as autumn leaves really ‘pop’ from the frame. Try these genius tricks to take great photos on your smartphone.

Annette HillardCourtesy Annette Hillard/Country Extra

Rule of thirds

Remember the rule of thirds when setting up your shot. Divide the composition into three parts to make sure the focal point is positioned off-center for more visual interest.

Rachel ClellandCourtesy Rachel Clelland/Country

Wait until the sun is gone

Get a warm glow like the one in Rachel’s photo by taking your pictures just after sunrise or minutes before sunset.

Alex HoffmanCourtesy Alex Hoffman/Country Extra

Wildlife is out early and late

Early and late in the day are the best times for spotting wildlife. That’s when most animals forage for food and water. Get a look at some arrestingly beautiful photos that stand the test of time.

Bob-OehlmanCourtesy Bob Oehlman/Country

Step away from others

Stepping away from all the other photographers often results in a unique perspective, as seen with this image.

Carol Jacobs NorwoodCourtesy Carol Jacobs Norwood/Country Extra

Use the panoramic feature

It is possible to shoot wide-angle images without a special lens. Just use the panoramic feature available on most smartphones.

Judy WrodaCourtesy Judy Wroda/Country

Create a still-life

Create a lovely still-life scene by incorporating a variety of colors, textures, and materials. Try these tricks to make yourself look better in photos.

CeLynn SiemonsCourtesy CeLynn Siemons/Country

Use the sport mode

To capture wildlife in motion, use a fast shutter speed or the sports mode on your camera. Pan along with the subject and match its speed while taking the picture.

McKenna SonnettCourtesy McKenna Sonnett/Country Extra

Get outside before you start shooting

Take your gear outside 15 to 30 minutes before you start shooting. This lets the camera adapt to the cold air and prevents it from fogging up.

Robert-ShoemakerCourtesy Robert Shoemaker/Country

Shoot against the sky

Add drama to your photo by shooting important elements against the sky. In this photo, Robert shot the tree and the cannons as silhouettes against a stormy sky, lending an air of mystery and impact that matches the history of the scene.

Lydia WilliamsCourtesy Lydia Williams/Country

Look for a common object

Shooting still-lifes can be easy and fun. One approach is to look for a common object, like these chairs, and fill your frame with them. This creates great visual variety and cohesion.

Gail WrightCourtesy Gail Wright/Country

Keep the sun at a right angle

To achieve the best lighting when photographing people outdoors, keep the sun at a right angle to your subject. Avoid taking photographs when the sun is directly overhead, as it creates harsh shadows.

Kerysa FordCourtesy Kerysa Ford/Country Extra

Don’t be scared to get wet

You’ll find a slew of waterproof/resistant cases and even waterproof cameras on the market. Don’t let the fear of getting your camera wet keep you from taking that shot on your next aquatic adventure. These are the most stunning underwater photos ever taken.

Wayne FritzCourtesy Wayne Fritz/Country

Look for body language

Candid shots and unexpected moments are sometimes the best ways to capture genuine emotion. Look for body language to help tell the story.

Kathie KummetCourtesy Kathie Kummet/Country Extra

Use burst mode

Capturing photos in the moment can be tricky. Shoot in burst mode so you don’t miss that perfect picture. Simply delete the ones that don’t make the cut. These are the classic touristy photos every vacationer totally wants to take.

David ZufallCourtesy David Zufall/Country

Use different angles

Try experimenting with angles. Getting low to the ground can add drama and perspective to an otherwise ordinary photo composition.

Nolan EricksonCourtesy Nolan Erickson/Country Extra

Shoot from a high point

Show the vastness of a landscape by shooting from a high vantage point. Look for observation towers in your area if you live in a flatter part of the country.

Tom GriffitheCourtesy Tom Griffithe/Country

Look for colors and shapes

Don’t overlook old, abandoned, or decaying structures. Your photo can serve as a time capsule, saving a record before they disappear forever. Focus on details and interesting colors and shapes. Now that you know the best ways to take them, read about how you can make money off of your vacation photos.

Originally Published in Country