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How to take great photos on your next city break

You’ve chosen the location and bagged the flights in the sale; now it’s time to prepare to capture the local culture and sights on camera. These top city break photography tips from the Jessops Academy team will help you to plan ahead and take photos that you’ll be proud to show off when you return.

1. Research

Before you arrive in the city, research the best places to visit and top tourist attractions. See how others have captured it before and think how you might like to capture it. Look at the perspectives and angles that have been used and think of those that haven’t. Take a look on Google street view at the surroundings for any potentially unexplored vantage points, roof tops and terraces nearby that you could also capture. Also consider what would be the best time of day to take this photograph. Ask yourself, is it lit beautifully by the setting or rising sun? Or maybe it would look great with the sun bright and high in the sky, casting gorgeous shadows and rays of light.

2. Master the Rule of Thirds

The ‘rule of thirds’ is a multi-generational tip that will pay dividends for years to come. The secret to mastering this technique is to visualise a grid of lines running horizontally and vertically, breaking the image into thirds. Using the ‘Live View’ shooting screen will allow you to display the ‘Thirds’ grid to aid in visualising and achieving this. Composing your key points of interest in the image by placing them in one of the thirds or intersecting points on the grid will instantly draw attention to them and make the photo pleasing to the eye. Take a few moments before you snap away to consider the composition, lighting and angles before hitting the shutter button.

3. Get Stabilised

Stabilise your camera with a tripod or support. Tripods today are compact, light and agile so won’t take up precious space in your cabin bag. A tripod will minimise any camera shake which is the most common cause of blurry pictures. Don’t forget a tripod’s best friend is a remote release. If you don’t have one you could also use the self-timer to trigger your camera, this helps to further eliminate any vibration from pressing the camera’s shutter button.

4. Foreground Detail

Including something in your foreground – a statue or monument, a fountain or sun dial, even a steamy coffee while you take five minutes to relax – will add a sense of scale and context. It can also lead the eye into the picture, balance the frame and add a point of interest.

5. Challenge your skills

If you’re spending the day exploring the city then try setting yourself a theme, for example, architecture, reflections, colour or contrast. If you’re visiting a city renowned for castles and beautiful buildings then focus on that for the day; using different composition, distance, angle and perspectives to challenge how you portray your chosen subject.

6. Pack your accessories

Some simple accessories will help you in your quest to take better holiday photos. A table-top tripod will take up a tiny amount of space in your suitcase and can fit in your pocket when you’re out and about, yet will make all the difference to your pictures. Keep some extra memory cards to hand plus a spare battery or two for longer day trips: there’s nothing worse than running out of juice in the middle of a photo adventure. Ensure the camera bag or case you want to take will hold what you need and above all else is comfortable enough to carry for those days out. Consider bags that sling across your back and have a little extra space for a bottle of water or a small bite to eat.

7. Try a course before you go

So that you’re fully prepared to take some great holiday photos, why not enrol on a one day photography course? Jessops offers a whole range of photography workshops that are unpretentious, sociable and hugely helpful.

“The one-day courses like our Jessops Photography Level 1 and our Photo Walks offer an opportunity to unlock, understand and take control of your camera and composition to maximise your creativity – designed for any digital camera that can be manually controlled,” says Ian Savage, Head of the Jessops Academy. “The courses have been created to cater for all levels of photographer and are hosted by our network of expert tutors who will give you tailored feedback and tips as you go along.”

Fancy something extra-adventurous? Why not combine your love of travel and photography and join Jessops on one of their many photographic breaks including Scottish wildlife exploration, Landscape breaks in some of the UK’s most breath-taking areas, photographing Wales, Dolphins and cetaceans and even a Namibian safari. Courses start from £119. For more info, visit

8. Print those Pictures

Are you guilty of to taking hundreds of holiday pictures only to leave them stored on your camera? Don’t let your holiday become a distant memory as soon as you step back off the plane. From as little as 6p per print you can order high-quality photos from Jessops. Get creative by making a gallery wall of your travels, or tell the tales of your adventures with a photobook you can show to your friends and family.