It can be difficult to shoot memorable images on a short city break or brief holiday, particularly in packed tourist hotspots. We give you our top quick tips for making the most of your break.

It’s tedious to take pictures in Italy’s St Mark’s Square, Venice, for example, without including lots of rubbernecking tourists wielding iPads or selfie sticks. Even in such packed locations, however, a bit of creative thinking can help you get good images.

The first job is to do your research – even if it’s only to see what’s been done so you can try different vistas.

Don’t attempt to cover the whole city in your limited time – focus on specific neighbourhoods and themes.

As the landscape and travel photographer David Noton says: ‘Travel less, shoot more – and don’t always assume your best shots are just over the next hill.’

Here are our top tips to help you make the most of your time away.

  1. Getting out early will help you obtain more flattering and atmospheric light, and there will be fewer people around. This image was taken at around 6.30am in Venice, and this hugely popular waterfront location was relatively empty.
  2. Creative camera effects, such as motion blur, make your work stand out, although they can’t be done on a smartphone. This image above was taken with a slow shutter speed of 2secs, at f/22 to keep the background sharp.
  3. A tripod/camera support is essential if you try creative effects, but it adds extra weight. Lightweight carbon-fibre tripods are easier to carry around, or a Joby Gorillapod can easily fit in your bag or jacket.
  4. Take capacious memory cards on which you can keep images until you return, while also backing them up, but remember that SD cards can be easily lost. Also, ‘lock’ stand-out images so you don’t accidentally delete them.