Ten vital tips to give them a different spin, part two

Looking for part one? Click here to start readingHere’s a few more tips — some for my geeky side as well.

6. Pack light

You don’t have to take every lens you own and come back thinking you wish you’d married a chiropractor. Think about what you want to shoot and just take minimum gear for it. Limitations expand creativity! I once went on vacation with one camera and a 50mm lens, and really learned how to use it. It has since become one of my favorite lenses.

If you’re unsure, take a zoom lens or two primes, and remember that less is more when you’re walking around for a few days. And yes, you will think of me and thank me.

7. Don’t make it about the photos

Getting the whole family up at 4 a.m. because you want to shoot the sunrise from that outcrop 10 miles away, or making everyone wait in the midday sun because you found a blooming cactus you never saw before, does not make for a happy bunch.

Taking landscape and nature photos takes time, and if you’re into that you have to make sure others don’t have to suffer for your passion. Let them sleep and go by yourself, or take them to the nearest restaurant and run back to your cactus while they’re having lunch. Spending your days waiting for the photographer in the family to “get that shot” is actually really annoying. And if you let some shots go, they will oblige when it really matters. Oh, and you street photographers…yes, you. Gotcha.

mother, son, child, boy, sunlight, wood
Posing is totally overrated

8. If you’re using your phone, start deleting as you go. If you’re using your camera, don’t!

We shoot a lot on our phones, and end up with thousands of images that are hard to choose. Make a conscious effort to go through images as soon as possible after you shoot them and start deleting. You will thank yourself later! Be merciless and only keep the best ones.

On the other hand, if you shoot with a camera don’t EVER do this. Deleting images from a memory card in-camera can create problems and even cause your card to fail, so if you have that habit just stop it right now. Learn to think a little more before you shoot if you tend to go overboard on clicking.

9. Don’t forget to BE in your photos

You shoot them. Who shoots you? Time to pass on a little bit of our passion onto our loved ones. If your child is four or older, they can hold a camera and have a go. I was amazed at what my children did when I handed them my camera. They were soooooo excited! If you’re nervous about letting them use your gear, buy them a small compact they can use, and carry it for them (there’s no other way). Your spouse qualifies for this too, of course.

Start teaching them about composition, and setting the camera on Auto will take care of everything else. Most children will love it, but don’t expect them to start taking photos all the time because they won’t! Just hand them a camera every now and then and let them experiment for a while (very good when you’re waiting for things they would get restless about). And at the end of the vacation, you’ll be able to say you were there and people will actually believe you.

baby feet, bark, toes
Details can tell a story. Don’t be afraid to get close.

10. Last but not least, PRINT PRINT PRINT

You take photos to make memories, so don’t bury them at the bottom of a hard drive. Make an effort to select the very best and make an album. Often, working on your images will allow you to discover some unexpected beauties — a little cropping goes a long way!

Spending a few hours to work on your images when you come home means everyone will remember that time again and again, and it will become a real piece of your family history.  And in the long term that’s probably worth even more than the vacation itself.


Do you have more tips for vacation photos? Comment below and contribute to the list!