Cameras and vacations go together like milk and cookies. We invest time and money in planning and we want to capture those fun memories. Many times I have arrived home after a vacation with regrets that I did not get certain shots. With a little planning we can avoid those regrets and come home with images we can be proud of.
My family just got back from a week on our houseboat at Lake Powell. Since we go a few times a year my challenge is always to try and get shots that I didn’t get the last time. I have to laugh at myself because I was actually thinking of this post while I was there! I brainstormed some ideas on what helps me take better vacation photos. I want to share them with you! Here’s some quick pointers to help you get your creative juices flowing so you are prepared for your next vacation.
1. Capture your senses. Extraordinary sights, smells and taste (i.e. food), texture/touch, and sounds (i.e. music or entertainment). Things that remind you of the sensory feelings and moments you want to remember.
2. Capture the culture. The people, the food, local industry, homes, architecture, atmosphere.
3. Capture the things you see at sunset. This is the best time to take photos, no matter where you are in the world. The light is soft and everything looks lovely and dreamy with that warm glow. Most people can figure out how to take a nice photo of a sunset. The trick is to think outside the box and try to capture it in a different way. An emotional silhouette, sunrays or soft bokeh peeking through the trees, a unique angle or perspective. I love silhouettes and their emotive appeal. Here’s a couple of my favorites.
4. Capture extraordinary light and/or apply what you know about composition. Be on the lookout for the way light hits a person’s face, an object, or a certain place. Then grab your camera quick! Beautiful light will give your vacation photos that “wow” factor. With an ample amount of photo opps, vacations are a good time to practice what you know about composition. Before you hit the shutter button think creatively about how you can make that photo unique.
5. Capture the little details that tell a story. Anyone can take snapshots while on vacation. That’s easy. Challenge yourself to think outside the box and pay attention to the small details around you. You will be glad you did later when you would have otherwise forgotten about them! My kids etched messages and designs into sandstone on our recent Lake Powell trip. It was an activity they had dreamed up themselves and I wanted to remember their creativity.
6. Get playful and do mini photo shoots. Take advantage of your beautiful surroundings and finagle one of your kids or hubby to be your model. Plan some family pictures or give the camera to someone else so you can get an updated photo of yourself. My 9 year old daughter took this of me and my sweet babe last week at the lake.
Think ahead about where you will be visiting and plan accordingly with clothing and props. One year I had a friend snap some family pics for me while we were visiting the beach in California.
7. Shoot with photo collages in mind. Most likely you will place your vacation photos in a album, a digital photo book or on the web in a blog collage. In any case, you will be displaying them in groupings. It’s visually pleasing when you have a variety of landscapes, architecture, portraits, animals, details, macros, etc. in a collage. If you are prone to taking mostly portraits, challenge your creativity by focusing more on details or landscapes next time.
I’m sure there’s more great tips out there, but these are the ones that came to my mind as I was brainstorming. Do you have a thought process behind your vacation photos? I’d love to hear any additional ideas if you do!