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5 Instagram Tips for Taking the Best #Vacation Photos

Everyone enjoys a good vacation, and as spring creeps around the corner, for many, travel is on the mind. Whether it’s a stay-cation in your own city, a jaunt to a nearby bed & breakfast, or a trip around the world, we want to share the best tips for snapping the perfect #vacation photo this season.

As mentioned in our previous post, there are almost 36 million photos tagged with #vacation on Instagram to date. Though just because that many photos exist, it doesn’t mean they all capture the true essence of a vacation. Unfortunately, we have also reached a stage on Instagram where there is an over-saturation of stereotypical travel pics, think: people’s toes in the sand, foamy cappuccinos on café tables, bikini-clad girls jumping on a beach, and the list goes on.

At Olapic, we aim to mandate authenticity in visual marketing. It’s often the unfocused shot, the serendipitous experience, or the unexpected encounter that leads to capturing the most powerful moments. So without further ado, here are some tips to take your travel photos to the next level!

It’s about the journey, not the destination

There are various quotes about the importance of taking time to “enjoy the journey” and not worrying so much about the destination. While these quotes apply to life in general, they also apply to capturing authentic travel photos. To load up on the clichés: take time to stop and smell the roses, veer off the beaten path, and embrace even the bumps in your journey because it’s those in-between moments that really tell your travel story. The best photos are the ones that capture the attention of your audience and make them wish they were there.

Tickle the senses

Although scratch and sniff images don’t exist yet online, the digital age makes anything possible. In the meantime, our next tip revolves around drawing people into an image by capturing moments that engage your senses. Whether it’s the culture, the food, the atmosphere, the movement, or the energy of a particular place – use your camera to engage with the sights, sounds, and textures that encompass your destination. Doing this draws in viewers to imagine the experience you’re having, and may ultimately lead them to taking a vacation similar to yours.

Travel tip: ride the water taxi instead for 7,50e and save 92,50e on a gondola ride. #notaserioustip #whyisitsoexpensive #runEUwild

A photo posted by AUTUMN KERN PHOTO (@autumnkernphoto) on

Keep it in perspective

As many know, it’s not enough anymore to snap a pic of a sunset from your vacation and call it a day. Your audience wants to see more, and usually from a different perspective than what is considered routine. Take a second to mull over what your photo would look like if you took it from a different angle than usual. Say, from the hood of your car, low to the ground, peeking through leaves of grass, or with your lens just above the waves (Olapic takes no responsibility if you drop your phone into a body of water ☺).

Additionally, there are also times that it is difficult to capture the size, depth, or grandeur of a particular place or monument. To solve for this, consider adding a person or object to the photo to really capture the majesty of what you have witnessed in visiting a particular site – it will make the impact of your photo all the more spectacular.

Use your eyes not your lens

In this digital age it is almost impossible to experience the world through anything but a screen. We are so used to checking the weather on our phones rather than walking outside, or listening to a five-minute podcast instead of reading the news, or making a memory with a person while Snapchatting instead of being seated next to them, that we often forget the importance of experiencing a moment while it is happening.

Of course, at Olapic, we are great proponents of the use of visual technology, but there is a lot to be said for observation through one’s own eyes. This tip and lesson is simple – look at the world around you and the travel destination you are experiencing through your eyes first instead of through the lens of your camera. Examine and discover the beauty of your city or a far-off country in real life before capturing your photo – it will make it all the more beautiful to be present in the moment.

Be Au Naturale

Vacation photos are the best when they are un-posed, unprocessed, and
au naturale. It is often the imperfections that make something beautiful. Whether it is catching your travel buddy marveling at an ancient ruin, using natural light to draw focus to a gorgeous part of nature, or snapping a photo of unsuspecting wildlife – capturing people or places off guard is what makes a vacation photo stand out. Additionally, it gives your audience a sneak peek into a moment in time that will not be lived by anyone else but you..

Bonus Tips!

  • Keep your captions short and sweet – Let the picture speak that 1,000 words.
  • Tag and mention people in your captions as they receive 56% more engagement.
  • Don’t forget to add where you are vacationing to your photo because including a location results in 79% higher engagement.

Everyone wants to re-live their best stories, therefore it is important in any photo to make sure you strive to capture the essence of your travel narrative. There are 40 billion photos on Instagram and there will only be more in the future, so one must do their best to stand out from the crowd. Be sure to take our tips & tricks into consideration and if you forget them, just stick to the adventurous Coco Chanel’s advice when taking your photos: In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.

If you’re a travel marketer and want to learn how to get the most out of this visual user-generated, or “earned” content, check out our new whitepaper, “How Earned Content Is Transforming the Travel Industry.”

Uh, so…this place exists. ? #azhenasdomar #sintra #portugal #cliffs #ocean #dreamcometrue

A photo posted by Rachel Brown (@rachelanjali) on

Image Source: Our own Rachel Brown