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The best way to take pictures while traveling for great results

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

Wow friends and family!

When you're on summer vacation, you tend to seek out popular landmarks, natural wonders and many other cool things that you want to take photos of. Unfortunately, the spectacular visuals you see in person often fall flat on film or in pixels. Luckily there are things you can do to improve your photo taking skills even if you are an amateur photographer. So the next time you visit the Grand Canyon, Big Ben or just a neat little town on your way to your final destination, incorporate the following tips for taking photographs and capturing the initial awe.

Woman in Front of Eiffel Tower

landmark photos

It may be your first time to the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China or the Lincoln Memorial, but that doesn't mean you haven't seen countless photos of these famous monuments before. In order to make your photos stand out from the thousands you've already seen, try a different approach:

Don't shoot it straight on, find a more interesting angle such as, crouching down and shooting it from the bottom up. Find access to a rooftop where you can get a bird's eye view or zoom in on one aspect of the monument.

Wait until the sun goes down or get up early to capture the feel that low sunlight produces. You'll be amazed at the dramatic tone your photo captures.

Take natural photos of people in front of monuments. Don't opt for the traditional pasted on smile of your family in front of the Sears Tower; allow them to act naturally. Capturing people walking by, looking at or interacting with your intended subject will help to tell a story and make your photo more interesting.

Don't make the landmark the main focus of your photo. Use it as the backdrop instead. Taking a photo of a beautiful street in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background will make a more dynamic photo than if you just snapped a shot straight on.

let the action flow

If you have a camera that allows you to change shutter speeds then you can capture truly exciting images. By slowing down the shutter speed, you can add some blur to the action, which helps showcase the hustle and bustle of a busy street or the flow of a water fountain. Stopping the action is great in some instances, such as sports photography; but if you're trying to capture atmosphere, try using a lower shutter speed.

depth of field

Shots of people in front of busy backgrounds often get lost in the "noise" when the photo is printed. To make sure your subjects stand out amid busy cars and people passing behind, open up your aperture, stand closer to your subject and use a longer lens. This will blur the background and make the people in your photograph pop.

lose the clutter

There is often so much going on in your line of sight that it can be difficult to fit it all in your viewfinder. Instead of trying to cram everything in, which will only create an overly busy image, simplify it. Frame your image so that it focuses on one subject and visually crop out excess that will detract from the focal point. A great tip is to always take three steps closer to your subject before snapping the photo. This will help ensure your frame is filled with the intended subject, thereby making more of an impact.

bring your memories home

Using these simple techniques will help you capture interesting dynamics of the things you encountered on vacation. Instead of taking standard, boring photos on your next trip, keep these tips in mind and impress your friends and family with your visually stunning images.

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