Hendersonville, North Carolina ~ 828.785.2389

March 18, 2013

9 Tips For Taking Pictures While On Vacation | Hendersonville, NC Photographer

Since I know many people are heading out for Spring Break in the next week or two, I thought I would share a few simple tips on documenting your vacation.
Tell a story
When I'm taking pictures on vacation, I'm trying to document the story of our time together as a family.  With four active kids, two of them being teenagers, we very rarely have time with all six of us together for an extended period of time.  So when we are on vacation, it's the perfect time to capture some good family time.  So I shoot with telling our story in mind.  

The Details
I didn't do a great job of capturing a lot of the little details on this vacation.  Which is strange for me.  I love shooting little details normally.  But here are a couple examples of details.  First, I like to try to shoot signs to show where we are.  This one captures both the miniature golf course and the location.  Plus a couple of cute little kids!  Shooting signs, buildings, and interesting locations can all help with telling your story. 
This is a detail shot of sorts.  It's showing that cute little tutu bathing suit that she wore for two summers and this little inflatable life jacket that we have had since Drew & Brodey were in preschool.
 The good, the bad, and the ugly
We all want to capture pictures of our family smiling and having fun, but lets be honest, that's not always the case.  Especially when we are on vacation with little ones.  Schedules are messed up, naps are missed, meals aren't as regular, and we stay busy and active most of the day.  So sometimes there is a meltdown or two.  Don't be afraid to capture those moments as well.  Afterall, they are apart of our story.  This picture shows Peyton as she is wilting during a round of miniature golf. 
Another little tip, when pictures don't turn out great, like the picture below being way over exposed, I don't worry about it too much.  This was one of those moments that I had to snap quickly on the fly and didn't have my camera settings correct.  But if I had taken time to set my camera for a better exposure, I probably would have missed this precious little gem of a shot.   I'd much rather have this image overexposed, then not have it at all.
Go Natural
While there is definitely a time for everyone looking at the camera and smiling, some of my favorite shots are the ones that no one even knew I was taking.  If I see a quiet moment that I want to capture, I try not to bring a lot of attention to myself.  I try to quietly sneak a few shots before anyone is aware.  Although, my kids are pretty alert to my sneakiness since I am always taking pictures of them!
 This quietly observing and sneaking in a few shots works especially well when there is a sweet connection happening between siblings or between parents and children.
 And shooting from behind is a great way to capture these connections of people
who don't especially like having their pictures taken.
I always try to shoot my kids playing.  This is another time when I have
to be kind of sneaky so I can catch them in a natural way.
 When we go on vacation, 75% of the time we spend on the beach or in the water.  So capturing them playing in the sand always brings back lots of memories when we look back through pictures. 
 And capturing all four of them playing together is a very rare accurance.
 Capturing this smiling face is not a rare occurance!

 One of my all time favorite action shots!  Probably a little blurry, but still a keeper.  Again, I don't worry about perfect images when photographing things like this.  It's all about capturing the moment.

Get in the picture
I have to admit, I'm not great at this.  But I am slowing getting better.  I have started handing the camera off to other people and getting in a picture or two myself.  Brodey and Cooper are both getting pretty good at taking pictures because of the times that I have handed them the camera and gave them some simple instructions on how to frame the shot.
Trying to take pictures is harsh mid afternoon sunlight can be difficult.  Especially at the beach where the water and sand is reflecting that bright sunlight around.  I always grab my camera when we are on a beach vacation and there are overcast skies.  It makes the light much softer and easier to create beautiful images.   If I'm trying to take pictures when the sun is high in the sky, I will often try to find some shade to take the picture in.  Finding shade can be difficult while on the beach, but when are out exploring things other then the beach, I will always try to take pictures in the shade.
It seems like most of my vacation shots end up being of people doing something or interacting with someone else.  But I do like to capture a few of them looking at the camera too.  So while action and details are great, cute smiling faces are a must too! 

 Forget the camera
One of the most important things to do at some point while on vacation is to forget the camera.  This is always a hard thing for me to do.  Beause I know as soon as I leave that thing behind, that is going to be the time when something great happens that I have to have pictures of.  But sometimes I just have to leave it behind and be 100% in the moment with my family and not worry about documenting every teeny tiny thing.  And I always have my iPhone with me.  So I can always grab a few shots with that if something to cute to miss happens!
So there you have it. 
A few simple little tips that will hopefully help you while taking pictures on your next vacation.
For more photography tips, go here.
So where are you going on Spring Break?  Stop my my Facebook page and share one of your favorite vacation pictures.


  1. Omgosh! I like all your photos! The lighting is clean and crisp. :-)


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