Accor Vacation Club travel photography tips

Travel Photography Tips

Story by Jacqueline Hamilton

Photos and videos are our way of freezing a moment in time, waiting to be enjoyed for years to come.

It’s a physical collection of tender moments, sights and adventure. It could be a snap of fascinations never seen before, the story of a face showing the culture of a community, the spirit of a stunning landscape and instant flashes that will never come again. A photo is one of the easiest souvenirs we can bring home with us to remind us of the perfect holiday.

With that in mind, here are some great travel photography tips to help create that ideal image.



That said, now a few words about protecting your camera. Theft is rife in the dodgy areas of our world (and the not so dodgy too!), however you would be amiss if you thought packing your camera in your suitcase was completely safe. Make sure to carry your camera and accessories with you onboard your airplane with you. This should protect it from theft and damage to a greater extent. Don’t flash it about in “dodgy” areas, you may find yourself a target. Overall, insure, insure, insure. Travel Insurance is vital, with the added extras clause ticked and serial numbers documented. We would hate for you to have all those lovely shots held in your camera and to have it whipped away from you the day you are coming home.


Memory, Batteries and Backups

Nothing worse than a beeping camera to tell you there is no memory left.

Oh no, you should have bought that extra memory card and battery out with you today. When you think you are covered, slip an extra battery or memory card in your pocket anyway, believe me it will be required when you least expect it.

And I cannot stress enough the importance of backing up. You could use Cloud technology, or you may even want to carry a small hard drive with you to load up. Move your prized images to another device, that way they are secure, you can transfer the images anywhere you need them plus you have all that lovely memory back again.

Learn how to improve contrast, sharpen image elements, soften color tones, reduce highlights, boost shadows, minimize sensor noise, and adjust exposure levels (without going overboard) using the software.



Ask yourself, what are your key points and where do you place them within the frame? The Rule of Thirds is one of the most basic understandings when creating a more balanced photocomposition. Essentially split the image into three imaginary areas both horizontally and vertically. These will help to frame the most important parts of your image in a way that is most pleasing to the eye.



By experimenting with your camera you get to know its abilities (and you’re your own!).

Try differently angled shots of the same element. Standing straight on, kneeling, from an elevated height or get right down and shoot upwards from the ground.

Different distances will also change your perspective of a composition. Panoramas, wide angled shots are very different from the more mid-range “generic” shots most people take. And then there is the up close and personal framing that will give you a more in-depth look at part of a building or landscape,or the intricacies of a face – just pay attention to where the shadows are and your source of light, it makes all the difference.

Use your Rule of Thirds to create a pleasing composition – experiment with this too.

What does it look like if you sit the main element to the right, or left? Does it create more interest? Or do you prefer dead centre? It’s your personal preference, so go for it. After all, if you are not happy with it, delete and try again. And again, until you get it just right.



Walking up to someone and asking to take their picture can be difficult in Australia, let alone a foreign country.

It’s natural to be nervous, after all they are simply living their lives and you are virtually invading their space. Will they say no or get offended? Will they understand you?

If you want to take a portrait, especially if they are going to be up close and personal, get to know the person a little first. Basically, touch base and start with “Hello”.

Chat a few minutes before asking to take their photo – compliment them on something, buy a souvenir from them, ask directions etc. Once you have a line of communication open, asking to take their picture is a lot less intrusive. You may even make a lifelong friend too!

Just remember, not everyone will say yes. Some people will say no. Others will see the opportunity to make some money. Don’t stress if the answer is no, there is always another opportunity around the next corner! And… some people will be just fine with you taking a pic.

Plus, it’s always a good idea to learn the phrase for “Can I take your/your child’s photo?”, “Thank you” and “No problem”. It always pays to be polite.


Waiting for the ‘Soul’ of an Image

Photography is about seeing what’s right in front of you. Yet, it’s not just about framing the perfect composition or getting the lighting spot on, although both are important too, your photo should have soul. Use your eyes to see, but attune your emotions, heart and mind to the soul of the image.

Before you press the shutter, take time to slow down and feel. Pay attention to your surroundings, community, culture, even the weather. Be prepared to wait out the weather or light (your research will come in handy here), sit ready for a truck or person to move into or out of frame, have an idea in mind as you look for the face in the crowd that shows the emotion you are trying to capture. Most professional photographers understand they need to have extreme patience and are prepared to wait for that one single moment so they can reap the rewards of a fabulous photo.

Take the time, and look for the soul of the image.

Every destination is different, and every portrait is unique. What are you waiting for? Grab your camera and let’s start! Need some ideas for iconic destinations? Speak with an Accor Cruise and Travel Solutions Specialist at AU: 1800 70 80 90 or NZ: 0800 45 19 97.

To plan your next holiday escape visit

The Sebel Swan Valley The Vines, managed by Accor Vacation Club

Vacation time, amongst The Vines

It might be a quick 25 minute drive from Perth, but the spectacular Swan Valley is almost guaranteed to have you feeling a million miles away from your everyday cares on your next visit. Whether you are escaping for a mini break or extended holiday in the heart of the vineyards, this destination has something for everyone from manicured golf courses and scenic natural landscapes, to inspiring aboriginal art and historic colonial treasures.

Of course, let’s not forget the famous Swan Valley Food & Wine Trail, a 32 kilometre trail that explores more than 150 wineries, eateries and micro-breweries across this special region that produces some of Australia’s best Verdelho, Chenin Blanc and Shiraz varieties. An ideal destination for those with a ‘taste’ for culinary adventures!


 All cellar doors lead to The Sebel

Managed by Accor Vacation Club, The Sebel Swan Valley is the perfect choice for travellers who want to stay a while and indulge in the best of the Swan Valley at their leisure.

A true home-away-from-home experience, The Sebel is a hop, skip and jump away from some of Western Australia’s finest cellar doors and wineries, not least of all the world-class Houghton’s and venerable Sandalwood Wineries, and local fromagerie, the Cheese Factory.


Of course, we’re green with envy

Guests staying at Accor Vacation Club’s apartments are invited to play not one, but two challenging 18-hole golf courses, convenentally located at The Vines Resort & Country Club’s.

Thanks to the amazing presentation and experience enjoyed by players on the Ellenbrook and Lakes golf courses, The Vines is continually rated as one of Australia’s best golf resorts. The lush, manicured gardens and immaculate greens of these magnificent Swan Valley courses are surrounded by natural bushland, where you can expect to be joined by local wildlife – not least of all curious wallabies – as you play each course.

For those up for a challenge, The Vines internationally ranked courses are the real deal with unique bunkering and an interesting course layouts that follow the natural landscape making for a testing and enjoyable experience. There is also a driving range, unparalleled in Western Australia, featuring a fully grassed teeing off area and a multi-tiered green surrounded by bunkers, for those wanting to perfect their short game.


Practical Magic

Self-catering is definitely a popular option for most guests staying at The Sebel Swan Valley, given each apartment’s great kitchen and lifestyle features for entertaining. However, the nearby Novotel provides an easy alternative for those who prefer to pass on cooking while on a minibreak, providing dining options at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant and bar for breakfast, lunch, dinner or perhaps  a sundowner cocktail as the sun sinks over The Vines.

Guests staying at The Sebel also receive complimentary carparking, and access to Novotel’s outdoor swimming pool and heated spa, tennis and squash courts, a games room, barbeque terrace, hairdresser and massage services. Everything you need for a complete holiday experience.

For those who want to double their holiday fun, Accor Vacation Club offers two more great destinations in Western Australia, within driving range of the Swan Valley.


Endearing Margaret River

Set amongst exquisite, manicured gardens in the award winning Margaret River wine region of Western Australia, Grand Mercure Basildene Manor is a one-of-a-kind historic property, dating back to 1912 and classified by the National Trust and Heritage Council.

A three hour drive from the Swan Valley, Basildene Manor is a firm favourite with discerning travellers,

Now owned and operated by one of Australia’s leading holiday lifestyle programs Accor Vacation Club, the old manor house was originally built by the locally renowned Willmott family, 106 years ago, to be their stately family home.

Steeped in history and tradition, the modern Grand Mercure Basildene Manor offers 19 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, in addition to a restaurant that serves a delicious buffet breakfast (and the hotel’s famous Devonshire tea). There is also a fireside reading room, a sunroom and conservatory, a lakeside pergola and even a tennis court. So much to do without even leaving the grounds!

With so many beautiful beaches, caves and wineries within easy reach, Basildene Manor is an ideal home base to explore the natural splendours of Margaret River, beyond the main hotel.


The Sebel Swan Valley

Address: 79 Hermitage Drive, The Vines WA 6069

Phone: (07) 5595 3200


Grand Mercure Basildene Manor

Address: 187 Wallcliffe Road, Margaret River, WA 6285

Phone: (08) 9757 3140



To plan your next holiday escape visit

Busselton jety, a must see for guests staying at the Sebel Busselton

Timeshare Travel Review – The Sebel Busselton

History, humpbacks and heavenly wine. The South-West tip of Australia is one destination that invites all your senses along for the ride!

The seaside town of Busselton is a perfect gateway to indulge in the spoils of this stunning region, and a great base for anyone undertaking a trip to this dramatic part of the world.


Have a whale of a time

With easy access to Georgaphe Bay for swimming and snorkeling adventures, Busselton is the ideal place to be to sight the seasonal humpback whale migration each year. Southern Right Whales and rare Blue Whales hug the coast for what is the longest whale watching season, on an epic migration between May and December each year.

Often they come so close to with their calves that visitors can see them with the naked eye from certain vantage points along the coast. Of course, joining a hosted Whale Watching tour from Busselton is also a good option to head out to sea and observe these graceful giants of the sea.


Underwater Love

For those interested in a unique encounter with nature, and an immersive experience beneath the water, we recommend Busselton’s Underwater Observatory. A perfect place to explore the underwater coral reefs, without getting wet!

The Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory is one of Western Australia’s most popular eco-tourism icons. Allowing you to descend eight metres below sea level to view an amazing marine world of schooling fish and tropical coral, the Underwater Observatory is a favourite with people of all ages.


Get to the Jett!

Of course, most travellers will tell you that its most famous feature is in fact its 19th century Busselton Jetty, a fabulous wooden structure that juts out nearly 2 kilometres into the ocean. It’s the ultimate place to catch a picture perfect sunset sink over the horizon on the West coast. Extending 1.8 kilometres over the protected waters of Geographe Bay, the heritage listed Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. After a leisurely walk over the water, you have the option to jump onboard the 50-seat train and take the leisurely train ride along the jetty, back to shore


Where to stay

The Sebel Busselton in Western Australia recently revealed a modern new look, with Accor Vacation Club recently completing a five phase refurbishment program of its Member accommodation. Another great reason to add Busselton to your WA bucket list this year.

All studio, two and three bedroom apartments were given a fabulous facelift over winter. Fresh features cross these spaces include fresh paint, new televisions and USB charge points, bathroom accessories and soft furnishings such as new lamps. Fresh curtains and throws have been inspired by the destination, with a modern coastal palette used alongside textured fabrics and weaves for added comfort.

The Studio accommodation now welcome guests in style with new feature entrance tiles and vanity cabinetry, while two and three bedroom apartments have had modern security screen doors installed.  Gorgeous vibrant local artwork has been added to rooms to provide an energetic pop of colour (think Busselton blue skies and ocean) to help set the scene for holiday fun.

Depending on whether you’re travelling as a couple, or with friends or family, The Sebel Busselton has a variety of modern and spacious apartment options to choose from. Studio spa rooms are ideal for two, while spacious two or three-bedroom self-contained apartments are ideal for larger or multi-generation family trips.

The Sebel Busselton

Address: 553 Bussell Highway, Busselton, WA 6280

Phone: (08) 97549800

To plan your next holiday escape visit

Thailand, one of the most popular destinations for Accor Vacation Club Members using the Accor Hotels Select and Asia programs.

Tempting Thailand with Accor Vacation Club

It comes as no surprise to us that Australian’s are now among the most well-travelled people in the world. While there is no doubt that we still love exploring our own backyard, more than half of us now owns a passport which means that as a nation, we’re probably likely to be headed overseas some point in the near future.

According to a recent report from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the most popular international destinations for Aussie’s remain New Zealand and Indonesia (primarily, Bali). However according to the Bureau of Statistics, Thailand continues to climb in popularity among travellers, and most of us would agree that it’s easy to see why. Known as ‘the land of smiles’, Thai people are genuinely warm and welcoming. Combine that with great hospitality, affordable dining and activities plus an easy to manage short haul flight, and you have all the ingredients of a great (and good value) trip.

The capital of Thailand, Bangkok might be famous for its nightlife, bars and shopping, but many Australians tend to see this city as more of a stopover option before seeking out resorts on the coast or islands around the Andaman Sea. Here, travellers can experience some of Thailand’s most popular beaches and holiday at a more relaxed pace. Whether you are bold and budget conscious or more selective with luxury tastes – there is a location and hotel style to suit your needs.

If you are considering a trip to Thailand in the near future, Accor Vacation Club’s AccorHotels Select and Select Asia Programs are definitely worth investigating, and are a smart way to leverage your Première Plus Membership to its full advantage.  Combined, they offer 12 different hotel and resort options to consider on your next trip to Thailand, taking in the region’s most popular destinations such as Bangkok, Krabi, Samui, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Phuket.


Where can I stay in Thailand with Accor Hotels Select Asia?

Grand Mercure Phuket Patong

Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Novotel Bangkok Platinum Pratunam

Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort

Novotel Samui Resort

Grand Mercure Bangkok Asoke Residence

Mercure Hotel Pattaya

Novotel Phuket Resort

Where can I stay in Thailand with Accor Hotels Select Elite?

Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan

Veranda High resort Chiang Mai

Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort

Pullman Pattaya Hotel G


Accor Hotels Select and Select Asia programs – what are they?

Accor Vacation Club work in partnership with AccorHotels to deliver two great programs, specifically created as an exclusive benefit for Members. The programs provide a great way to use points to explore the region, beyond Accor Vacation Club’ core network of 24 properties, to broaden your travel horizons. A true synergy with the Accor network of hotels, the key benefit of the program is the ability it gives Members to retain points and redeem them within the larger AccorHotel network.

Accor Hotels Select Asia network of 27 hotels across Asia is available to Platinum, Traveller and Corporate level Première Plus Members. The Accor Hotels Select Elite program offers a choice of 34 different hotels, primarily under the Sofitel Luxury Hotel, Pullman and MGallery brands, and is available to Traveller and Corporate level Première Plus Members.

For more on booking any of the hotels within these programs, and your Membership eligibility, contact a representative of the Accor Vacation Club Member Services team on 1300 761414.

To plan your next holiday escape visit