ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Taking Great Pictures While on Vacation with Smart Phone or Camera

Updated on April 11, 2023
BestCrispAir profile image

Practical advice for living this modern life, one article at a time.


What to Bring Along with Your Digital Camera or Smart Phone

You have the trip planned, you have the hopes that you will have a good time, and you have your digital camera, or, your smart phone as your device for capturing all of the photos that you want to take.
Here is a list of what to bring along with you and your camera to make sure that you don't miss getting some great shots.

  • Extra batteries. At least two. On a trip to China, I missed getting some really great shots with Panda Bears because my camera had died on me. I thought that I would be able to just find time to charge my battery, but that was not the case. My older spare camera also was able to take AA batteries, but there were none to be found in any of the shops. For every 3 days you are going to be gone, pack an extra set of batteries. Make sure that you either leave the batteries in their original packaging, so that they do not touch battery contact points and discharge, or, if that is not possible, put each battery in a separate zip top bag.
  • Extra memory cards. Memory cards are pretty cheap now. For a good card, you can get one for less than $25.00 in most cases. Bring an extra for the camera, again, the rate is about 1 memory card for every three days. Hopefully, in three days, you will find a place to upload the memory card to.
  • The charger for the camera. That goes without saying, but I have heard repeatedly of people who thought that they would not take as many photos as they ended up taking. They either had to go without photos, or buy another camera on the trip. That can get pricey!
  • A proper cleaning cloth. Do you really want to wipe your camera and camera lens with a shirt that you have been wearing all day? Cleaning cloths are inexpensive, and there are even some cloths that attach to your phone or camera.
  • A proper camera case. A proper case will provide padding for the camera, protecting it from bumps and jostles as well as the occasional drop.
  • A carrying strap or holding strap of some sort. No one ever intends to drop their camera on vacation. Get into the habit of using the strap now, so that it is second nature later.
  • A portable battery bank. Get one with a larger capacity so that you can charge a few things during the time that you are out.

What to Aim for with the Camera

We've all seen the vacation shots that we would rather forget. A shot straight up someone's nose. The one where the kids look at something off camera, and no one knows what they were looking at, and let's not forget the best one of all, the unfocused frame.

In taking good photos, you want to frame your shot by looking either at the screen, through the viewfinder, or at the subject that you are photographing if you are using a tripod that you have already set up.

Compose your shot. Even if it is merely friends toasting the sunset, make sure that everyone is in the shot. Look around for things like trash cans, litter, animal litter and similar. If any of those are in the shot, either you move, to remove the offending item, or have your subjects move. Make sure everyone is facing the right direction, and take the shot.

Don't have them say Cheese. It's cheesy, and the smile always looks fake. Try saying "Sassy, Silly, Rain", or something else that makes the face end in a smile. Take the photo. Now...take another one immediately, when everyone relaxes.

When shooting pets and children, drop down to their eye level. Line up the shot, and take it. Don't come in too close to where the person or pet blurs, but do come in closer than with adults.

What if I Still don't Get Great Shots?

The first thing that you need to do is review your shots right after you have taken them. Right then, right there. If the shot is not right, take another. If after three times, you still cannot get the shot, then review it later to try to improve upon. Sometimes, with amateur equipment, you cannot get the same results. I was once trying to get a shot of the fountains in Las Vegas. I wanted to get a misting effect that I was seeing on a photo online.
I shared with a photographer there the effect I was trying to produce. He started listing off different types of lenses and filters. I did not have that option with my simple point and shoot.

Read the manual before you go on vacation. Before I left to England, I got a new camera. I took the time on the flight to completely read the manual before I got off the plane. I learned of some fun settings and "filters" that were built into the camera. I was able to take some really remarkable photos that myself and my friends enjoyed.

Using your Phone as your Camera

I have used my phone many times to take impromptu photos at social gatherings and such. I heartily do not recommend it for vacations. The main reason is that if you are going on a vacation outside of the United States, some phones require that the radio be turned on to use any of the features.

That means that in a foreign country, you will be going through your battery very fast. Additionally. when I was on a foreign trip, my phone experienced a glitch and I lost every single image on the phone as it had to be reprogrammed to make it work again. I would not want to take a chance with something as valuable as vacation photos.

Saving Your Photos

In the hotel room every night, I took the time to upload everything to a cloud storage. That way, if phones or cameras were lost, the photos were still available. When I come home, I decide which photos are going to be printed. I then take the time to go and look through and delete photos that are blurred, lighting is bad, or other awful moments that I do not want to remember. I then go through and edit everything with a photo editor, upload to the cloud, and print the ones that I want to share. Printed photos are becoming a rarity now, so when I mail them to others (another rarity, postal mail that is personal!) they really cherish those photos.

Over and over in disasters, we hear of people lamenting the loss of photos. Now that online storage is becoming more affordable, I am stored in the cloud, too, but I am also keeping my own copies. I recently saw that large storage devices of 2TB and more are available for less than $100.00. That is a lot of photographs. If you value your photos, make sure that you have them archived. Memory cards fail, CD's and DVD's for those still using them sometimes fail, and technologies change. Anyone still using floppy disks these days?

About Me

If you find this Hub Useful, Funny, Interesting, or anything else good, please vote it up, thanks!

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Dixie


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)