Wish your vacation photos looked more like those in the travel mags? Whether you're in the outback or your own backyard, the following tips and images from award-winning photographer will ensure your pictures are all album-worthy.
The moment you snapped the shutter, you knew you had created your masterpiece. Surely it would make the editors at National Geographic proud, and in the three weeks since you returned from Machu Picchu you've been able to think of little else. The serene evening light was perfect. A woman walked by, caught in the setting sun with a large basket balanced precariously on her hip and her brightly colored dress blowing in the breeze. All you had to do was push the button.

Now you rush to the photo lab envisioning your new career as a travel photographer. Ripping open the package, your heart sinks. The picture is muddy, missing the vibrant colors you remember, and the woman is slightly blurred. It doesn't look anything like the image in your imagination.

You're not alone. Bridging what you see and what you get is the toughest part of any type of photography, and when it comes to travel, where the newness of an exotic environment is often overwhelming, the challenge can be even greater. But you don't have to become a professional photographer to get great pictures. Assuming you already know the basics of working your camera, heeding the following advice can lend you enough technique to break from the ranks of the unskilled beginner, without having to get a second job to pay for fancy equipment or ruin your trip by spending all your time looking through the camera lens.

Develop Your Photographic Eye
For starters, look at great travel photographs. Don't just flip through and admire, but really look at them. Consider what it is that works well, and try to apply those same el-ements to your own photography.