Vacation Photography Tips

I have no doubt that many of you out there have gotten fed up with this cold weather and have decided to do something about it, even if its only for a few days.  A vacation is the perfect way to give yourself a break from frigid temps and reality in general.  They can also provide you with some of the most stunning photo opportunities you’ll ever experience.  Today’s blog will go over a few tips for taking better photos while on vacation.

1.  Enjoy the moment

If you’re at a location where you get to experience stunning sunsets/sunrises or breathtaking views, before you press that shutter button, take a second and take in the moment.  While taking in that moment frame the image in your mind and plan how you want the image to turn out.  Enjoy that moment and that emotion will show in your photo.


2.  Include the locals

If you want to get some good candid street shots, pick a spot to hang out for a bit and wait. Observe folks buying a newspaper, selecting fruit at the market, having coffee at the outdoor cafe or chatting as they walk their dogs. Something interesting will happen and a story will unfold for you to capture and take home. The human element always adds interest to your images.


3.  Pay attention to the details

When you’re travelling to somewhere new to you, capturing the minute details has a way of heightening the amazement when going though the images. Obviously, flowers and wildlife are a great starting point, but there are other opportunities as well. Capture the texture of a starfish on the beach, the grain in the wood furniture in your cabin, and the tiniest bubbles in the wake of the tide.  Any moment that impacts you on your vacation can be represented metaphorically through the things around you that you touched and experienced at the time.


4.  Keep the cliché shots to a minimum

If possible, try to avoid those boring family group shots in front of landmarks.  Of course you’ll probably have to take a couple but instead of focusing on them, take action shots of your kids eating the end of fresh baguette in France or your husband flying a kite on the lawn of the Washington Monument. Those are the pictures that trigger an emotion and you’ll cherish them for years to come. They will evoke your travel stories and fun memories, making you smile every time you open the photo album.


5.  Improve your low-light shooting skills

Since you’ll be on vacation, you’ll have much less control over lighting situations. Whether you’re camping in the northern Wisconsin woods at night or watching the fireworks at Disneyland, the lights will go out and there will still be plenty of photographs you don’t want to miss.  This will be quite a challenge if you’re not ready to tackle low-light shooting. If you’ve got room, pack the tripod (I’ll address this one in the next tip), if not, look for a nice flat surface to set your camera down while it goes about the business of collecting light.  If you’re taking a long exposure, keep movement out of the shot if possible.  You may need to invest in a strong lens that performs well in low-light conditions.  You may even need a flash and a diffuser like a Gary Fong flash diffuser. Camera-mounted flashes tend to produce harsh light that will not help your photos. Diffusing this light allows you to take advantage of the additional lighting without all the ugly side effects.


6.  Pack as light as possible

I’ll admit that I used to have a sizable problem with this one.  If I decided to bring the camera along, I had to fight the urge to bring as much as possible!  Now, if I’m going to bring the camera, I have a smaller camera bag that I’ll use to pack a couple of accessories and THAT’S IT!  I highly suggest you do the same.  Your back will thank you later!


If you keep these tips in mind, you can get some killer images while on your vacation that will bring a smile to your face for years to come!  If you have some tips of your own, feel free to share them!!

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