Taking Vacation Pictures

So, we DROVE THROUGH THE NIGHT last Saturday to arrive home exhausted from our 6 day Disney/SeaWorld adventure...It was one of those vacations where you sort of needed a vacation from the vacation, if ya know what I mean...

It was all worth it though...it was the first vaca that my little family has taken "alone", as in without extended family or friends, in over 2 years.  It was just fun to watch each of our girls in a new environment...listen to their conversations and explanations on things...and just talk with one another for stretches longer than 2-3 minutes in between soccer practices, homework, dinner & bedtime! 

And, if you know me well, you know that I took at LEAST a thousand pictures...and by a thousand, I DO MEAN 1,000...if you need proof, I can show you the properties on my files :) I'm crazy like that...I do tend to go a bit overboard with pictures, but it's my way of telling the story...

I try to capture the moments so that when I go through and pick the ones that turned out best, they will be the ones that told our story from start to finish, with little details and fun remembrances...

Seeing as "official" spring break is coming up soon, I thought I'd put together a post about taking vacation pictures...because besides being passionate about storytelling through photography in my own life, I'm also All About helping moms & dads be able to tell THEIR family story as well...

So, without further ado, here are some tips for when you are planning your family getaway this spring or summer...some tips are serious...others, not so serious...but nonetheless, I hope you'll be able to glean a little help and head into your vacation feeling empowered (and confident) that you're going to come away with a great record of your time together...

1. MOST IMPORTANT:  Know when to PUT THE CAMERA AWAY!  What?  I just said that I was going to give you tips on how to TAKE pictures and now I'm telling you to put the gear down? 

I know, I know...but, here's the deal...if you are anything like me, you don't want to "miss a thing"...nor miss any picture taking opportunity...but, you have to give yourself permission to do so...so that you can just BE in the moment with your kids & family...You MUST do this...Yes, it might mean missing a cute expression...it might also mean missing a once in a lifetime shot with a Princess whom you've waited in line for 75 minutes to see (not that I know what this means 'wink'wink') however, it DOES mean that you can give yourself fully to the moment...to soak in the memory and involve yourself in what is going on instead of being hidden behind the camera.

2. Invest in Memory Cards.  Here's the thing...I am often so much in the moment that I don't want to have to think about, nor spend time figuring out all the settings on my camera ahead of time...so this often means that I just take picture upon picture with different shutterspeeds, ISO and aperture until I get it right (yes that's a lot of wasted images, but I've got card space to handle it) You also don't want to have to "gasp" delete pictures in order to have more space for another event...so, just make sure you have enough memory space to handle mess ups, lots of pictures, numerous sites:)

3. Think Angles:  EVERYONE can get the straight on, stand in front of the sign (or in my case, the Epcot Ball), say cheese picture...and truth be told, I'm one of them too...I do just snap those cheesy pictures too...but, I also go for something different...Don't be afraid to try something new...try to create something unique...try to avoid the cliche' shots for each exciting place you visit...

Squat down and point your camera upward, blur backgrounds...since you have that big ole memory card, fire off 3 different shots at 3 different angles and then you'll see which one depicts the moment best. Look for pictures that are "outside the box"...look for colors, mirrors, and times when everyone is just having FUN! Refuse to tell them "say cheese"...let them be who they are in the moment!




4. Think about Details:  We can so often get so excited about rides and remembering things that we take generic pictures of things that don't really give us the idea of what is going on.  This isn't bad, I do it sometimes as well because I just don't want to forget anything...however, try to remember to focus in on the details that tell YOUR story, you might get a different perspective.



5. Think About the Story that is happening right now:  Sometimes this means not even getting faces in the pictures...it might mean just standing back and snapping pictures as your kids just enjoy something to their heart's content...


 
 
6. Think STEP BACK then ZOOM IN:   Don't forget the big picture...those overview shots that give  the scope of your experience...but then don't leave out the closeups...the times when you zoom in and maybe even crop out faces to get to the heart of it all...






7. PLEASE, please, please, turn off that Flash!  I think this is one of my biggest pet peeves...besides hearing the people on the speakers say a gazillion times that flash photography is prohibited because it will ruin the enjoyment of others, only to have some wiseguy think he/she is more important and shoot off the flash anyway...UGH...This one is a hard one because you have to really know your camera's cabilities when you are dealing with low light situations...If you have a newer camera then I can pretty much guarantee that your camera is more than able to bump up that ISO so that you have more light available without it getting too pixelated.  Flashes are so harsh on faces and they blow out the backgrounds that you're actually trying to incorporate...sure it might mean that you have to fiddle with your settings and you might get more blur than you want...but, wow, does it show your story so much more...



 8.Give your Camera to Someone Else Sometimes:  It might mean you have to get it set up for them, but make sure that YOU are in the pictures too...don't worry about your makeup or weight or what you are wearing...your kids want to see that YOU were there too...that you experienced it with them! 


9. Look for Action/Perspective:  This is a hard one because I think we've all been trained to "stop, look at me, and say cheese"...I have hundreds of pictures like that growing up...but, my favorite pictures are the ones that my mom happened to snap of me doing a cartwheel or my sister giggling in just the right edge of the picture over a funny thing that my brother did...Don't box yourself into having to fill up the frame with everything...Think of your images as a story in and of themselves...




10. HAVE FUN! Remember...ultimately, it's really not about stellar images or what kind of scrapbook you can create with the pictures (although that is all great and good and something that I totally enjoy doing when I can find time to do it between laundry, helping with homework, making dinner & editing pictures for clients...) It's about BEING and LIVING with the ones you love...Even if you can just snap a few pictures that "prove" you were there...it will be enough to trigger the memories that we keep in our hearts of the special times of our lives...



happy vacationing!!! 

 Can't wait to see your pictures...PLEASE feel free to  post them over at the CTPhotoMemories Facebook Page when you get back!!!  Would LOVE to see what you snap!

Bev  – (13.3.13)  

How nice of you to take time to share tips. And the pix are great! So glad you had a great vaca! See you soon!

Bev  – (13.3.13)  

Oh, and I love your new logo/look!

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