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Vacation Photo Tips – Taking Pictures You’ll Want to Print

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I am the family vacation photographer.  I use the word in the most amateur sense.  There’s just no one else that’s even remotely interested in doing it, so, by default, I’m what we’ve got.  Over the years I’ve honed my skills, and, since I started as someone who rarely got the camera out, there was no where to go but up. Here are a few tips I’ve learned for taking better – and sometimes even good – vacation photos.

Get Good Equipment

I realized after several cheap point-and-shoot cameras that one of the reasons I didn’t bother taking pictures was I didn’t like how my cameras worked.  They were slow, which meant by the time the picture “snapped,” whatever I was trying to capture had already passed.  This is especially true with small children!  After much research, I finally found a camera that had the speed and a few options I could really use.  (Plus a hundred more options that I’ll learn…someday.)

Make It Fun

A few shots of everyone lined up in front of something important is ok, but then it gets boring.  Look at your backdrop and see if there’s a pose that will make it more interesting.  Is there a story to be told?  Or just some humor to interject?  For example, here’s a photo of my cousin’s wife “tripping” down the last steps of a Mayan Ruin scene:

Watch that last step!

Watch your step!

Or this shot of my father-in-law, who was a college athlete back in the day, “surfing” like a pro:

Surf's Up!

Even Grandpa gets in the action when you find a great location!

Look for the Details

Find the little elements that say something about your vacation.  Find the colors that made an impression on you.  Zoom in tight and try different angles to make it more interesting.  On a trip to Walt Disney World, I chose to take a picture of one of their resorts looking through the Mickey head in the fence.

Mickey Head in a Fence

Look for unique perspectives to frame your pictures.

Look for Examples

Sometimes I’m creative, but many times I’m a copy-cat.  I’ve seen pictures online that appeal to me, so I make note of what I like about them.  Then I duplicate that when it applies to the picture I’m taking.  Search out the aesthetic that appeals to you and go after it!

Get In The Picture

This is the one I struggle with the most still.  I’m always the one taking the pictures.  Occassionally my husband will get the camera and take a couple of the most unflattering pictures of me he can manage.  I think it’s just to prove that I should retain my role as the family photographer.  So, I either need to learn to use the timer, be comfortable asking strangers who look like they understand photography to take pictures, or – gasp – work with my husband on his skills.  I’ll let you know how those options work out.

More Inspiration: See more tips on taking great vacation photos.

What are some of the ways you make your vacation photos more interesting and fun?

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Robyn fell in love with travel before kids and has found it even more wonderful since her kids have joined the family. She is married to an amazing…

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