How to enjoy your family vacation AND get great photos
The summer season is well and truly upon us, and many photographers will be heading off on vacation with their pride and joy. Many will be bringing their families as well as their cameras. And that’s where friction can creep in. You might be going to Paris, France, for example. In your mind, you’re already planning the sunrise photoshoot at Le Tour Eiffel or the beautiful cobbled streets of Montmartre.
But Junior wants to go to Disneyland, and the wife has her eye on Louis Vuitton on the Champs-Élysée. But there is a way to keep everyone happy and get great photographs. In this video, Don Giannatti gives some great advice on reducing the stress of vacation photography.
The key to a successful photography vacation is managing expectations. Understand that a vacation is meant for unwinding and spending time with loved ones. While you may want to take some photographs, avoid putting pressure on yourself to create a comprehensive portfolio or an extraordinary series of shots. Instead, bring a compact camera to capture moments without burdening yourself with heavy gear.
Travel Light and Smart
Leave behind unnecessary photography equipment that you will unlikely use during your vacation. A basic camera kit with a versatile lens will suffice for most casual photography needs. Resist the urge to pack your entire studio; remember, the goal is to relax and enjoy the trip, not haul equipment around.
Understand the Needs of Others
Take into account the preferences and interests of your travel companions. While you may be eager to photograph landscapes or urban scenes, your family or partner might have different preferences. Be flexible and participate in activities everyone can enjoy, even if it means sacrificing a few photo opportunities.
Embrace “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO)
Don’t let the fear of missing a perfect shot ruin your vacation. Photography should complement your experience, not dictate it. Accept that you might not capture every scene you encounter, and focus on making memories with your loved ones instead.
Master Quick Photography Techniques
Practice your photography skills to the point where you can efficiently capture shots without consuming too much time. Being quick and decisive with your camera will enable you to seize spontaneous moments while enjoying the vacation with your family.
Involve Your Partner in Photography
Engage your spouse or partner in photography by making them a part of the process. Encourage them to take photographs alongside you or even become subjects in some shots. By including them, you create a shared interest that enhances the vacation experience for both of you.
Plan Photography Breaks
Plan thoughtfully if you’re keen on dedicating some time to photography during the vacation. Discuss your photography goals with your travel companions and agree on specific times or locations for photography sessions. This way, you can indulge in your passion without disrupting the vacation itinerary.
Avoid Editing Photos on Vacation
Leave post-processing for after the vacation. Reviewing and editing your images while on the trip is tempting, but doing so can detract from the vacation experience. Instead, focus on enjoying the present moments and reserve photo editing for when you’re back home.
Create a Vacation Photo Book
After the vacation, compile your best photographs into a beautifully designed photo book. Include pictures taken by both you and your travel companions. A personalized photo book preserves memories and provides a tangible way to celebrate the vacation together.
Prioritize Quality Time
Ultimately, the key to a stress-free photography vacation is balance. Prioritize quality time with your family or partner while still allowing yourself to capture some memorable images along the way. A harmonious blend of photography and vacation enjoyment will leave you with lasting memories for years to come.
By respecting the desires of your loved ones, managing expectations, and being considerate, you can create a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone involved and come away with some pretty great images!
If all else fails and your budget allows, you can always plan a photography group tour or workshop next time, and save the family trip for connecting with your loved ones.
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe