Travel/ Blogging Tips/ Fashion/ Living

17 Aug, 2018

How To Get Insta Worthy Photos While On Vacation

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fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a rose gold bikini in hawaiiOutfit Details: Rag & Bone Panama Hat // Vitamin K Rose Gold Bikini Top (wearing an S or 6) // Vitamin K Rose Gold Bikini Bottoms (wearing an XS or 4)

You don’t have to be a blogger or photographer to appreciate being able to get a great photo while vacationing. There’s no better way to document your experience and ensure a lasting memory than with a photo. Chances are if you scroll through your Instagram feed, you’ve probably been most inspired by travel photography. There are some places that are so magical, just the sight of them will take your breath away.

Truth be told, it’s more than just a pretty landscape that makes travel photography so inspiring though. It’s lighting, composition and subject matter that make a photo really come to life. Have you ever looked at someone’s vacation photo and felt like you were actually there? You know – the kind of photo that makes you stop scrolling through your Instagram feed and really take it all in. Today I’m going to share how to best create those types of photos depending on the time of day that you’re shooting.

fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a pink dress and saint laurent bag at the four seasosn hualalaiOutfit Details: Hello Molly Rose Gold Dress (wearing an XS, also love this one and this one) // Schutz Heels (run TTS) // Saint Laurent Sunset Bag

Sunset

On our recent trip to Hawaii, we were determined to take great photos, but also set aside enough time to unwind and really enjoy our vacation. We decided to only take photos at sunrise and sunset in order to have the day to relax and we ended up coming away with more quality photos than any of our previous trips and we both felt more relaxed than ever too – even more so than our honeymoon in Bora Bora! I highly recommend waiting for sunrise or sunset to shoot because it’s much easier to get a quality photo (we usually only have to take a few shots to get it right).

Sunset is hands down the best time of day to shoot. As long as you have a little bit of sunlight, you will get a great photo 99% of the time. A beautiful sunset will take center stage of your photo so you really don’t have to search far for a great background. If you’re on a tropical vacation, look no further than the ocean as a backdrop and if you’re in a more urban setting use the cityscape as backdrop.

fashion blogger mia mia mine at the four seasons resort hualalaiOutfit Details: Yumi Kim Dress (wearing an XS, better for budget here) // Cult Gaia Bag // Schutz Heels // Stila Lip Color (in shade ‘Bacca’) // Shashi Necklace

Whenever I get to a new location, I like to post what I consider to be an establishing shot. An establishing shot in film dictates where a scene takes place – you should see identifiable landmarks or landscapes. This was the first shot I posted on Instagram when we got to Hawaii last week. While I did want to share my outfit of the night, I also wanted my readers to be able to easily see that I was in a tropical destination. The picturesque palm trees, romantic sunset and the small glimpse of a resort in the background helped my readers establish where I was.

fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a white eyelet lace dress at the four seasons hualalai
Outfit Details: For Love & Lemons White Lace Dress (wearing an XS, better for budget here and here) // Cult Gaia Bag // Rag & Bone Panama Hat (budget version here) // J. Crew Earrings (similar here) // Steven White Sandals (run TTS)

Fashion is obviously more of my focus than travel so sometimes I want my outfit take center stage despite being in a beautiful background. When that’s the case, I opt for closer shots like this 3/4 body shot – where I take up 3/4 of the frame. The beautiful sunset serves as a great background, but it doesn’t necessarily take away from my outfit shot. I’m in the center of the photo so you instantly focus on me and the details of my dress.

fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a glitter pink romper at the four seasons hualalaiOutfit Details: Hello Molly Romper (wearing an XS, also love this one and this one) // Schutz Heels (runs TTS, better for budget here) // Saint Laurent Bag

Shooting during sunset can be tricky if you shoot too early. You probably already know the term “Golden Hour” (the last hour before sunset or before sunrise) – which casts a romantic amber shade across your photos. Photographers call it Golden Hour because it’s usually the best (and easiest) light to work with. If you shoot during the earlier part of Golden Hour, however, the sun is often still pretty high and can be trickier to work with. If you choose to stand almost directly in front of the sun, it can cast shadows and blow out sections of your photo. Your safest bet is to stand just off center from the sunset – like I did here. Both me and Phil were standing off to the side with the ray of sunlight casting a romantic shadow.

fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a yumi kim dress at the four seasons hualalaiOutfit Details: Yumi Kim Dress (wearing an XS, better for budget here) // Cult Gaia Bag // Schutz Heels // Stila Lip Color (in shade ‘Bacca’) // Shashi Necklace

This shot was technically taken during Blue Hour – the minutes right before sunrise or sunset. The sun tends to cast a bluer shade across a photo which I really wanted in order to make my dress pop. This is also great light to work with although I typically reserve it for photos where I don’t show my face directly because it can be tough with shadows.

fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a yellow swimsuit at the four seasons hualalai in hawaiiOutfit Details: Everything But Water Swimsuit (wearing a size 2) // Mar Y Sol Pom Pom Bag // Hello Molly Hair Scarf (under $20) // Hello Molly Layered Coin Necklace (under $20) // Quay Sunglasses

Daylight

As I mentioned before, we try to avoid shooting during the day, but occasionally we will shoot during the day if we feel inspired to. We never shoot during the harsh light of high noon though because it’s nearly impossible to take a great photo and it ends up taking up too much time – which we value most while on vacation! This shot of me at the pool was super easy to capture because it was shot during the late afternoon so the sun was lower and I found shade under a poolside cabana.

fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a floral print dress by rococo sand from revolve Outfit Details: Rococo Sand Floral Dress (wearing an XS, budget version here and here) // Rag & Bone Hat (budget version here) // Schutz Heels (runs TTS, better for budget here) // Mar Y Sol Handbag // Stila Lip Gloss (in ‘Bacca’ shade)

This shot was taken in the early morning when the sun was still pretty low. I was also standing in the shade of a tall building so the lighting was easier to work with.

fashion blogger mia mia mine at the fairmont maui wearing an aloha top Outfit Details: Aloha Tank (exact sold out, similar herehere and here)

This shot was taken during the dreaded high noon, but it was a spontaneous stop while we were exploring the island. I wanted to capture the local fruit stand – which is quintessential Hawaii. I used the stand as a backdrop and stood in the shade for better lighting. When the sun is high, I always make sure that the backdrop I’m shooting in is shaded as well as me.

fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a cult gaia handbag at the four seasons hualalai
Outfit Details: Majorelle Floral Top (wearing an XXS) // Levi’s Denim (similar here) // Madewell Sandals // Cult Gaia Bag

If we shoot during the day, we typically try to avoid getting sky in photos because it’s usually blown out, but if there’s no way to avoid it, it really comes down to the positioning of the photographer. For this shot, Phil was standing on a step above me get less sky and more trees behind me.

fashion blogger mia mia mine at the four seasons resort hualalai on the big island hawaii
If you’re taking a swimsuit shot, it obviously makes the most sense to shoot it during the day. For this shot, we were enjoying a day by the pool and since it was pretty sunny, the light was harsh – nothing a giant hat can’t solve.

fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a black revolve bikini at the four seasons resort hualalai hawaiiOutfit Details: Tularosa Bikini Top (wearing a medium – size up) // Tularosa Bikini Bottom (wearing an XS – runs TTS) // Gorjana Crescent Necklace

Sunrise

Sunrise is my personal favorite time to shoot because you can get the same great photos as sunset without all the people in the background. We’ve gotten some of our favorite shots at sunrise before everyone’s awake and the sunrises tend to be moodier and more interesting.

fashion blogger mia mia mine at the four seasons resort hualalai on the big island hawaii
Hawaii is famous for it’s pink sunrises and sunsets. This sunrise that we captured on our trip to Hawaii last year is still one of the most memorable. The sky was insanely beautiful. I love that I’m not the main focus of this photo, but my presence in the photo helps a viewer imagine themselves in my shoes standing on the beach. The pink sky takes up the majority of the frame and seems to envelope me in a grand way – exactly how we felt standing on that beach.

mia mia mine wearing a haku in hawaiiOutfit Details: Tularosa Bikini Top (wearing a medium – size up) // Tularosa Bikini Bottom (wearing an XS – runs TTS) // Gorjana Crescent Necklace

I love the reflections that the sun casts on water. To best capture it, we experimented with Phil’s positioning – sometimes he’d stand below me, at eye level or above me to get the photo – which all create a different feel as the background fills the frame differently. To capture more depth of the water behind me, Phil stood below me so that the lava rock and water took up 2/3 of the frame.

fashion blogger mia mia mine at the four seasons resort hualalai on the big island hawaii
With beach photos, your photographer’s positioning is key. If we are shooting with the ocean as the only backdrop, Phil always stands above me so that the water takes up most of the frame. This pink sunrise cast purple shadows on the ocean and a beautiful magenta hue across the sand. The rippling waves help to add texture which makes an ocean photo so much more interesting.

fashion blogger mia mia mine in oahu helicopter ride

From Your Phone

Sometimes the best memories are captured via your phone. Lugging around a heavy camera and lenses may not always be practical (like in this tiny helicopter) so we opted for an iPhone shot to capture our experience.

We also tend to take photos via our phones if we are unsure of the lighting conditions, but want to make sure we get a capture of the experience. Our phones have a wider angle lens which tends to be most representative of natural light versus shooting on a camera – which, during harsh daylight usually means you are not shooting for the naked eye, but rather underexpose a photo to adjust later in editing – hence you don’t always know what you’ll end up with.

fashion blogger mia mia mine having breakfast at the four seasons hualalai
Outfit Details: Rococo Sand Floral Dress (wearing an XS, budget version here and here) // Rag & Bone Hat (budget version here) //  Schutz Heels (runs TTS, better for budget here) // Mar Y Sol Handbag // Stila Lip Gloss (in ‘Bacca’ shade)

I love using my iPhone for everyday moment shots because it’s the no-fuss option and the most practical. We don’t spend a ton of time trying to get the perfect shot because there’s not always the pressure to have to post the shot. If it’s a shot I feel inspired by, I’ll post it and if not, I’ll save it just for our memories.

fashion blogger mia mia mine at the four seasons hualalai spa
While phone photos aren’t always going to be the most crisp, they do have a great way of making the viewer feel like they were there. Since most of us document our own lives via our phones, photos via your smartphone have a very relatable feeling to them.

fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a blue bikini in hawaii
Smartphone photos are also so easy to shoot, edit and post. They’re a great option if you want to post something quickly and effortlessly.

fashion blogger mia mia mine wearing a floral bodysuit in orlando Outfit Details: Revolve Floral Bodysuit (wearing an XS) // Lovers + Friends Denim Shorts (wearing a 23 – size down) // Saint Laurent Sunset Bag // Nine West Heels (run TTS)

Of course an iPhone always comes in handy for a quick #OOTD shot too.

xo, Maria

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