While there are no rules in photography — just “try not to do this or that too much” — there are a few things to keep in mind to make your vacation pics a little more successful. One of our favorite photographers, Sean McCormick, weighs in with some expert tips.


- Feel free to shoot when the weather is bad. Overcast conditions and black-and-white film make a great combination.

- If you’ve just spent big money on a new camera (or an old one, for that matter), read the manual! Know what’s in your toolbox. Get comfortable with your camera and know its capabilities.

- For you digital users, spend the extra money on a large memory­ card. (This will also help with the next tip.)

- My favorite piece of advice: Never stop shooting; never think you “have it.” Film (am I dating myself?) is the cheapest part of the equation. Shooting two, three, or 10 more shots will be much easier than booking another trip to Machu Picchu.

- Lastly, rules are made to be broken, so break ’em. Experiment and try new things. Like I said before, it’s just film.


- Try to avoid shooting directly into the sun. If you must, try blocking the light away from the lens with your hand (without getting your hand in the picture, of course).

- Don’t distance yourself from your subject, especially when you’re taking portraits. A famous photographer once said, “If your picture is bad, you didn’t get close enough.”

- Don’t just take posed photographs. Catch people when they are being themselves. Record the entire experience, not just Bob standing in front of the world’s largest ball of yarn.

- Contrary to popular belief, photos do not always have to be symmetrical and balanced. Are the clouds extra cool that day? Include more of them. Is there something that adds scale to the picture? Include it.

- Lastly, do not feel compelled to spend heaps of cash on camera equipment. You are the artist. All you need is a camera that works and your imagination. The rest is pretty easy.