5 simple tips to make your photos look pro

Sirmione Castle | Photo by Sarah Cosano
Sirmione Castle | Photo by Sarah Cosano

5 simple tips to make your photos look pro

by Sarah Cosano
Stripes Japan

Picture this: you’ve just unpacked your bags after a dream vacation. You’re tired, happy and grateful for the opportunity to travel. You open up the photos to share with friends and family—but they don’t look half as great as when you were capturing them.

It has happened to all of us. Oftentimes photos don’t reflect the incredible experience we remember. This article will help, with no extra equipment needed! To up your photo game, just consider the acronym FLAME: focus, light, angle, moments and editing.

Maidan square | Photo by Sarah Cosano
Maidan square | Photo by Sarah Cosano


When travelling, there is so much to take in that we often just snap a quick photo. Yet for a good picture, it’s important to pause and ask, what is my focus? It may be a Gothic church, or it may be the face of your child as they go down a slide. Sometimes it’s the glorious desserts in the case at the restaurant. What is the center of the picture? Consider cropping some of the noise from the scene before snapping the photo.

Eulenbis |Photo by Sarah Cosano
Eulenbis |Photo by Sarah Cosano


Even without special equipment, light is an important thing to consider when taking photos. If you’re taking photos of people, make sure that they are facing the light. If you’re staying in a beautiful location, it may be worth setting an alarm, grabbing a coffee and photographing as the sun comes up. Semi-cloudy surroundings create softer lighting than the harsh midday sun. Also consider adjusting the exposure or fill light to make the image as clear as possible after the photo is taken.

Crowds outside Sirmione castle | Photo by Sarah Cosano
Crowds outside Sirmione castle | Photo by Sarah Cosano


Vacation photo tip: angle is everything! How many times have you visited a popular site and gotten frustrated that you can’t take your photo without millions of people in it? Consider changing the angle by using things (or people) to strategically hide photo bombers. Another way to make your photos artistic is by looking at it from a different perspective. Rather than a photo of the house from the front, try a unique angle like laying on the grass.


Magical moments happen all the time when we travel. Watching for these can help capture an interesting story. You may see a moment happen with strangers, a dog or a street performer. Sometimes capturing moments is as simple as waiting until cars pass by to take a better picture. Typically, we experience these moments unconsciously, but it can be fun to have unique scenes included in your album.


After you are done capturing your photos, there’s just one final step. Take a minute and think about what story you want to tell. It’s OK to let go of a photo that was amazing in person, but didn’t work out on film. The FLAME approach can also guide your editing. Cropping or making small adjustments to photos can really bring the moment to life. You can also use a simple filter to save photos that lack the right lighting.

You’ve had an amazing vacation and you deserve to share it like you remember it. By thinking of the acronym FLAME (focus, lighting, angle, moment and editing), it’s easy to up your photo game and really capture the magic of your trip.

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