5 Tips For Photographing a Vacation

Twin Cities Family Photography

Vacations are made to destress, reconnect with loved ones, and let go of the pressures of everyday life.  They are also prime opportunities for stretching yourself creatively!  Shooting in a new environment, especially one that you have not had a chance to scout first, encourages you to think on the fly and keeps you on your creative toes!  Here are 5 tips for photographing your vacation.

1) Photograph connections as well as events.

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In the photo above the boys were learning how to make seeds and dandelions into pressed paper that could be planted once we got home.  Rather than just shooting the boys I chose to show how Daddy helped him by holding the tray while my youngest smashed the dandelions down.  It shows the connection between father and son and I love it.

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Here my mother in law is walking with my son through a butterfly garden.  I could have asked them to turn around and smile but instead I wanted to focus on how his little hand held on to hers and how intent they were on their hunt.  

2) Don't forget the details.

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The first thing my husband pointed out to me when we lugged all of our things into our hotel room was the complimentary coffee cups.  Some had mustaches, some had smiles, but this one had lips AND a camera.  It was a laugh we shared between us and every time I look at this photo I remember that moment.

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A running joke every time we get together is how my husband's stepfather has to read every single pamphlet he comes across.  Here's my mother in law having a chuckle at his expense.

3) Step back and capture the entire scene

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The opposite of course is also important in telling the story.  Admittedly, I was trying to be stealthy with this shot but they spotted me and broke into matching grins.  But the story is still there.  My boys were on this car ride for the thirtieth time and the grandparents needed to rest their feet!

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Though my family isn't obvious in this picture (there are a lot of strangers milling about) I can pick them out and so can anyone who knows them.  And because of the distance there is more of a story in this photo.  Where are they?  What are they doing?  Is that a bamboo fence over there?

4) Capture downtime as well as the fun stuff.

Tips for photographing your vacation

The mornings before you head out for the day or the evenings when you get back to your hotel (or B&B, or relative's house, etc) are important for telling the overall story.  This picture of my son captures his personality so well.  He's got his DS glued to his hands but he's also staring at the TV that's just out of frame.  

Tips for photographing your vacation

And here's my youngest doing his best to stay awake after a long day of exploration and excitement.  These quiet moments are just as precious to me as the daily activities.

5) Try to capture your subjects in their element

Tips for photographing your vacation

By this I mean watch for moments when your subjects are completely at ease and in the moment.  Here is my son jumping up and down at the top of a small hill.  This is so him.  His energy and enthusiasm are legendary.  He wasn't showing off for anyone, he was just jumping at the top of the hill because he wanted to. 

Tips for photographing your vacation

And here is my husband's stepfather in his element.  We were looking at the Mississippi River and he fell in love.  He stood in this spot, his eyes trained on the water, for at least twenty minutes.  

Of course there are a million other things that could be said on this topic.  But these are the things that I try to keep in mind when shooting my personal vacations.  

Have a safe and wonderful holiday, everyone!  <3

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