Life Theory Collective

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How to take Great Vacation Photos

Photography, Wander, Life & StoriesAshleigh Raddatz8 Comments

Our family recently got back from a trip to the States, our first trip back since December 2011! I took a few... er... 3000 pictures while we were there!!! We were there for a month, visited 14 different cities (probably more if I count the different restaurants we ate at in the surrounding areas), stayed in 7 different houses and visited with so many near and dear to our hearts. Oh and we gained a collective 12 pounds :)   It was such a special trip and was perfect in so many ways.  And now here I am, a couple months out from our trip, and looking back through our photos feeling both happy and sad at the same time. Happy that we had such an amazing trip, made so many new memories, and spent time with all of the people we love so much. And sad for the obvious reasons... I miss everyone more than I can put into words!  

Either way, I am so thankful to have my photographs and the great memories that we made. 

Ok, enough sappy stuff! Let's get to the Vacation Photo Tips!

No matter what kind of camera you are using, these tips should help you capture all of those special vacation moments and will make looking back at your trip extra special! 

1. Have your camera close by

Vacation Photo tips

Starting with the obvious here, keeping your camera within reach while traveling will remind you to take photos along the way. Even the most mundane part of trips can make for great photos and sweet memories. I will never forget how nervous we were about how our boys would do driving so long in the car. They did so well (despite a couple incidents of car sickness) and we were so relieved that they were reasonably happy on the road (Let's hear it for for excess amounts of tablet time and yummy snacks! We weren't trying for parents-of-the-year status... We were just trying to keep the content *wink*)

I was also happy to have my camera with as we did a bit of shopping and I caught Auggie and his cousin Gracie playing in the clothes racks! Partners in crime! 

I was also happy to have my camera with as we did a bit of shopping and I caught Auggie and his cousin Gracie playing in the clothes racks! Partners in crime! 

 

2. But don't stay behind your camera so much that you miss out on being a part of your trip!

Vacation Photo tips

I have to remind myself of this often! I love taking pictures so much, and it really makes me slow down and watch how life is unfolding right in front of me. But, I realize it is also very important for being a part of the moment and to be fully present and interacting with my travel-companions.   The same goes for posting pics immediately on social media. I make it a point to only post updates and photos about my trip either at night when everyone else is sleeping and I have a bit of alone time or after we are home from the trip. The rest of the world can wait to see what's happening in my life so I can be in the moment not worrying about how many "likes" I get ;) 

3. It's all about variety

Vacation Photo tips
Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz
Vacation Photo tips
Vacation Photo tips
Vacation Photo tips
Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz
Vacation photo tips

Looking back through my photos, I love seeing the variety in my pictures. From landscape shots, to portraits, to action shots, to small details. Having this variety really tells the entire story of our vacation.  

4. Think about light

Morning Light

Morning Light

Evening Light

Evening Light

When your taking photos, whether it be vacation photos or family photos, light can make or break the image. (They don't call us photographers light-chasers for nothing). Pay attention to how the light is falling on your subject, if it is highlighting important details or if it is too harsh causing deep shadows to be cast. Early morning makes for nice soft light, evening makes for nice warm light and mid-day makes for harsher light. 

If you are shooting mid-day, take note of where the shadows are falling. It's best to try to get your subject facing the light a bit to evenly highlight their face. Also, be careful of your own shadow in the pic. Try to get in a position where your shadow is behind you or to the side of you so it is not in the frame.... Unless you want it there purposely.

Vacation Photo tips

5. Tell a story.

Vacation photo tips
Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz
Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz
Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz
Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz
Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz
Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz
Not sure if you can see here, but dad is carrying both boys, one on front and one on back. 

Not sure if you can see here, but dad is carrying both boys, one on front and one on back. 

It's fun looking back through photos and seeing a complete story. A good way to accomplish this is to capture 10 or more photos of one activity. So, if you are going on a special excursion or to a museum for example, having various photos of different things from that one activity will tell the entire story.  The mountains surrounding you as you drove up, the walk to the river, the kids excitement, playing, capturing little details, and including people in your photographs to remember just how small the kids were next to the giant rock. And the journey back to the car, after a long day of fun... Seeing all of these images together tell us the story of our adventure that day in Sedona, Arizona. 

6. Find a theme

Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz
The theme of our trip was the sun! We had perfect weather almost everyday which provided for some awesome pics! 

The theme of our trip was the sun! We had perfect weather almost everyday which provided for some awesome pics! 

Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz

You can get creative with your vacation photos by seeking out a specific theme to capture throughout your entire trip. For example, when my aunt came to visit us in Germany, she loved all of the unique and colorful doors here. So she made it a point to stop and photograph any doors that stood out to her, and once she got back to the states, she made a calendar that showcased all of her cool door pictures!  

7. Have fun with Perspective

Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz
Vacation Photo tips Ash Raddatz

I know I wrote a bit about perspective in my last photography tutorial (found here) but, I thought it was worth mentioning again because it can make for some really fun and creative photos. By varying your perspective you can catch some really creative shots and can make your subject really stand out! 

8. Get in the picture! 

Vacation Photo tips

This last tip is one of the most important! Hand that camera over to someone else, and jump on into the pic! You were there too, after-all! 

xo, Ash