Vacations are special to us because they are the time we get to slow down, spend time with our families, and do something we love. These vacations/adventures are something that we all want to capture and share but have you ever picked up your camera on vacation taken the shot and then been disappointed with the result? I know I have, but with some practice, I have found a system that works for me and I get the memorable vacation photos I want.
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A Variety of Shots
My goal when it comes to taking vacation pictures is to create a photo book when we get home. So with that goal in mind I think about the layout of the book and the type of shots I want to capture. I know that for a spread (two pages) I need 3 to 8 pictures, so when I pick up my camera I try to take at least 8 pictures before putting it back down.
This might sound crazy at first but hear me out. I will start by taking a pullback image so the viewer can see the entire scene. From there I will step closer to my subjects. I will move around them to get different pictures at different angles. I will also focus on different things to show the details and what they are doing. Here are some angles to think about when taking pictures- straight on, from the side, from above, from behind, etc.
Whether you’re on vacation or even just at home your pictures will be so much more interesting if you get low. Get on eye level with your kids so that you can see the scene the same as they do. It is amazing how just changing your height can improve a picture.
More often than not when people take pictures they stand too far away. Don’t be afraid to have your subject fill the frame; it will be a much more interesting picture.
I like to get a mix of individual shots and group shots to mix things up. It is also a great way to show who we were on vacation with.
Most of the time the place we visit is just as important as the people who are there, so I want to make sure I am taking pictures of our surroundings (big landscape shots and tiny details). I will often start taking our vacation photos when I start packing our bags. When the kids were younger we had so much gear that we had to take with us I always thought it was just crazy!! Now that they are older we don’t take as much gear but I don’t want to forget that season of our life where each kid had 2-3 bags just for a weekend trip. Lol
Pictures of signs and buildings are a great way to document your location. These pictures pair really nicely next to pictures of your kids in a photo book and they bring back memories from the trip. Don’t forget the epic landscape shots that will give an overall feeling of where you were.
Take Candid Photos
When you take pictures of your kids engrossed in an activity you end up with gorgeous photos. These moment show them in the most natural way- investigating an ant hill, gazing at a painting in a museum, or climbing the monkey bars and isn’t that how we want to remember them?
Besides, candid photos of your children mean they won’t have a chance to stick out their tongue or turn away from the camera.
I’m pretty sure you would agree that family vacations should also be about the kids not just getting the perfect smiling group photo. So let your kids explore and immerse themselves on vacation just have your camera ready to snap a photo.
Always take a Group Photo.
If you’re wanting to take better photos on vacation don’t wait until the end of an outing or an adventure to take a picture by that time your kids will be impatient, tired and hungry. That is not exactly the best ingredients for a memorable photo of your kids.
That being said trying to get a good picture at the beginning of an activity or an adventure is easy either because all your kids want to do is explore they don’t wanna sit still to take a picture. Instead I wait to take a group picture somewhere in the middle of your adventure and if you don’t get it the first time move onto a different location and try again. We aren’t against bribery either. 🙂
Make them Part of Documenting the Vacation
Just like if you were home and your kids get tired of having the camera in their face all the time so to keep them engaged in taking pictures and willing subjects I always try to get them involved. Hunter is the easiest he loves to be in the picture and then if you let him hold the camera and take a picture he’s so much happier. This takes all of maybe 30 seconds and he is a much more willing subject later on.
You can also involve your kids by doing photo scavenger hunt where you have them look for different things on your adventure and have them take pictures of the items or you can take a picture of it just gonna keep everyone engaged in the activity.
Use the Rule of Thirds
I think using the rule of thirds is my number one piece of advice I give anyone when they ask about taking better pictures so I’m going to give it again use the rule of thirds. If you want to know more information about the rule of thirds you can visit Using the Rule of Thirds blog post. The biggest thing to know is you can turn on the grid on your phone and on your camera to help you along the way.
Get in the Frame
Don’t forget to get in the picture as well. You are on the vacation too so you need to be captured enjoying your adventures. Hand the camera to your significant other or even to your kids. Just get in the picture, you will thank me later!!
Taking the photos is just the beginning
Once you get home you’re going to want to edit the pictures and put them in a photo book so that you can remember the vacation.
When we get home I will upload all of our pictures into Adobe Lightroom based on the month and the date and maybe a little bit about what adventure we were on. From there I will go through and cull the pictures and pick out the ones that I like the best and tag them. Each kid has their own tag and each vacation has it own tag. This year we didn’t get to go on spring break because of Covid-19 but I knew I wanted to document our “vacation” at home. So I tagged the pictures from our vacation week “corona-cation”.
I have also shot an entire vacation with my iPhone. I put all of those pictures into a chatbook because it was easier.
On your next vacation don’t forget your camera. Enjoy your vacation but be ready to pull out your camera and capture those unforgettable moments. You will love looking back at your memorable vacation photos and remember the amazing vacation. Share your pictures with us on social media @living_our_adventures or #capture-your-adventures, we can’t wait to see them!