Here are a few tips that will improve the quality of your vacation pictures.
Modern cameras allow are now all point and shoot. But there is one thing that we do have complete control of and that is the composition of the photo.
Good composition can be achieved by anyone. Before you click, take a second to think about three things.
What is the center of interest in the picture? It may be a building, person, animal, or a landscape feature. Whatever it is, stop and get a mental focus on it.
What is the best viewpoint? Maybe you should move to the left or right, back up or get closer, zoom in or out. Each spot will present a slightly different background and foreground. Try to eliminate distractions, things that intrude unnecessarily into the picture.
An easy way to estimate the composition is to make a viewfinder with your hands. Put the tips of your thumbs together, hands flat. Make a square using both thumbs and forefingers. Hold the square up in front of you so that your subject is visible through it.
What makes an effective background? You don't want the background to contain objects that are irrelevant to the center of focus. A good background will not immediately draw attention away from the foreground by being too powerful.
What makes an effective foreground? Ideally the foreground should catch the eye and lead it to the center of interest. Or it can serve to frame the picture as long as it adds interest and doesn't become too overpowering.
When taking long shots, don't let the sky dominate. Look for ways to introduce perspective in the foreground. A road, path, or other objects with strong lines can lead the eye deep into the picture.
A long shot is fine if you are specifically trying to include something in the background. But often it's difficult to recognize who is in the photo. Don't be afraid to get in close when the subject is a person. Closeups can get yield some great facial expressions, especially if the shot is unplanned.
Using a digital camera? Go crazy and take a million shots. That way you are sure to have plenty of good pictures and just delete the ones you don't want.