As a kid growing up, travel for our family was camping and exploring different parts of the Western United States, British Columbia and Baja California.
Our parents made it fun and encouraged us to read the AAA guides and maps and we stopped at visitor centers and historical markers along the way. These all piqued our interest. We even took photos with our little Brownie cameras, though we were selective with our photos since it cost a lot back then to develop. We saved money by buying film at a camera store that sold film that was at or near expiration date. Dad had been a professional photographer at one point before we were born so he knew great ways to bargain.
When we were taking our photos, Dad let us use our instincts in taking photos, but also gave pointers when asked. It allowed us the freedom to use our curiosity and interest in taking photos. Now the big question is where did those photos go? I admit, I only have a couple, but that is a different story.
Today most of us have camera phones and usually one or two other devices. I remember a couple of years ago I was at a concert and looked around – well actually I was looking through MY camera lens and saw 80 percent of the audience was focusing on taking photos or videos, not the actual experience that we had all paid crazy prices to attend.
Photos evoke memories of people and places that meant something at the time we took them. We tried to capture the image. Years later, I look at some of the photos I have, especially those from Europe of magnificent cathedrals and picturesque villages and town squares – if I didn’t have info on the back of the photo, I had NO idea where they were. Most of them only had the “scenery” – no family, friends.
You’ve dreamed of your vacation, you want to capture the sights; hopefully evoking the feelings you had when your photos were taken.
Some tips I’ve gathered or learned by trial and error:
- Make sure you have more than one way to charge/operate your device. Having a dead battery also means no photo
- Take your camera everywhere. I can remember once I had thought “I am just going to the restaurant” and since I don’t usually take food photos, I left it in the safe. Big mistake, there was a big celebration type parade that would have made a great photo and way to capture the moment. You want to make sure you have a way to carry it, use it and not lose it Waterproof covers are great if you will be near water.
- Do some scenic shots, but they are more interesting with people, animals, some type of interesting object in them. Sometimes though the sun is hitting something that makes it dream like or you see a perfect sunset or even an amazing storm. Otherwise you’ll end up with a lot of photos that aren’t too interesting.
- You don’t have to photograph everything but be ready for anything!
- Your photos should tell a story, evoke an emotion. It’s fun to have your photos tell the story of your trip from beginning to end. Think of views from your mode of transportation, from your room. That means pay attention and look around, One of my favorite photos was taken when I was resting on a bench in a town square in Spain and across the square were four women chattering, they were more of the grandmother age and each had a distinct personality. Though I couldn’t hear what they were saying, the photo captured the zest with which they were communicating and by framing it with the surrounding foliage and buildings, it made for a great photo.
- Use a self-timer if you are traveling alone or if you find that you are the only one taking the photos. I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had a photo of myself in a particular location or event. If you have to (try not to) use a selfie stick if that’s the only way you can get the photo.
- Watch for wildlife, if you have your eyes open, you may see some. Depending on where you are going, you may need a specific lens or type of camera
- Look for those candid moments with either your travel companions or the people around you.
- Try and take your photos from a different vantage point. If you just want a photo of the Vatican, you can buy a postcard. If you want it to be personalized, take an unexpected view of what you saw or even of the reactions of others.
- Remember you paid money to go on vacation. Experience your vacation with all of your senses. Listen to the sounds, smell the aromas whether it be the food, the foliage, the ocean or a city. Look up! Look around! Where permitted, touch the stone, the building, the water. Be in the moment. If you get some great photos, it’s an added bonus.