Summer is here and that means vacation. Today I’m flying off to Florida to spend a week with my Disney Princess.
Whether you’re planning an exotic vacation or a backyard staycation, there’s always something worth photographing when you’re having fun. With the advent of digital photography, more people than ever are taking more photos than ever. But more doesn’t necessarily mean better. How do you make sure those vacation photos are worth keeping and sharing when the trip is over?
Here are a few simple tips to help you get vacation photos that won’t make your viewers run screaming from the room.
1. Plan Ahead
probably the most important photography tip of all. Make sure the camera works before you start your trip. Charge the batteries, clear the memory card and be sure to pack all the extras you need. Camera batteries are cheap. If you’re camera uses AA batteries, buy a couple extra sets of rechargeables–they’re better for the environment and they last a LOT long than alkaline batteries. If your camera takes a proprietary battery, go order an extra or two so you don’t have to worry about running out of juice at the most inopportune times.
There’s nothing that will put a damper on the day faster than realizing you won’t be taking home any visual memories. And if you’re buying a new camera for the trip, buy it enough in advance that you can learn to use it–and make sure everything works the way you want.
2. Get it Out and Use it
The best camera in the world won’t do you any good sitting in the glove box of your car or on the nightstand in your hotel room. Take it with you and take photos. The only time it isn’t appropriate is when you are asked not to photograph something. Please respect photography and flash photography rules when visiting somewhere. When you don’t, you ruin it for the rest of us.
3. Fill the Frame
Do you really want to play “Where’s Waldo?” with your vacation photos? As one of my photography teachers said (back in the day), “you’re paying for the film, you might as well use all of it.” It’s always better to zoom in and fill the frame while taking the photo than to crop later.
Every picture doesn’t have to be a close-up of Mikey’s smiling face. Take a few well-composed scenic shots to set the scene for your scrapbook. Signs, overall shots of where you are and similar photos will help give your vacation story a sense of place. And, yes, it is perfectly ok to include people in these photos.
5. Give your Scene a Sense of Scale
Use people–or other things–to show the size of your vacation sights. Putting people in the photo (like your kids) helps to demonstrate how tall a saguaro is or how small that little bug really is. And people add some interest anyway. If you don’t ever put people in the photos you might as well just buy postcards.
6. Visit my Facebook page at Marie Leslie Media for more examples and tips.
7. Subscribe to my newsletter through the form below for a copy of my free E-Book, Marie Leslie’s Guide to Great Vacation Photos.
This newsletter includes tips on photography, blogging and getting organized and you’ll find even more tips and ideas for great vacation photos you’ll enjoy long after the vacation has ended. Happy Travels!
And please, feel free to post your photography questions in the comment section here or on my photography Facebook page.