Vacation Photography: Capturing Little Moments

In the last post, I talked about getting those frame-worthy, Christmas card-type shots that require a bit of planning. But that should only be a few moments throughout your vacation.

The rest of vacation is meant for downtime, exploring new things, trying new foods, seeing family, and just existing together. There aren't too many guidelines here, but maybe these will help you in your general photography.

This will be my last vacation post of our 2016 trip to Bald Head Island. Thanks for hanging around with all the vacay posts! We basically do the same thing every year, so I was getting bored with the same narrative. I know the kids will remember what happened just by looking through the photos!



1. Keep the camera sitting out. That way, when someone stumbles into perfect light for his screen time, you can capture it.


I promise there was more to our vacation than iPads. But I really like these two photos. 



2. Stay out of their way and don't ask them to look at you and smile. Sometimes they will, just because you appeared and your mommy-ness makes them happy (like the above--swoon!) But don't ruin their exploration. I'd say half of my favorite shots are taken from the back!


My mom was comforting her after she was getting ambushed by horseflies and we headed back inside. Not the time to ask them to turn around and smile. The moment was in the comforting. 

Catching her first sight of the lighthouse

They were looking at a billion marsh crabs who were running around at low tide. 

3. Don't leave without getting group shots. I hate to be a Debbie Downer here, but you just never know who might not be there on the next vacation or when you might see your loved ones again. The kids love to look at these shots and talk about their family members, even if everyone complains and 3 people aren't looking (which was not the case with these amazing kiddos, but is often reality).


I know this is contradictory to my first tip, but obviously group shots are different. 

4. Be thoughtful about the background. It's disappointing to get that perfect shot of your kiddo and then see a Bud Light bottle in the background, or a grocery bag full of sunscreen. Take a second if you can to shoot from a different spot or swipe the offending background material.


Would have been totally different with the granola bar wrappers that are out of the frame.  PS, did you know yogurt heals a bonked head?

5. If you hand the camera off to get in a shot, don't forget to put the camera on Auto mode for the photographer and encourage them to just take a million. One will turn out, and it's less annoying for them to keep showing you each time.

My sister did a great job taking this one. Even though he's not looking, 3 of 4 is pretty good and no one was too bent out of shape from the experience. 

6. Look for inspiration. Moments that you don't want to forget. You won't regret taking a photo, but you will regret not having any. I encourage you to step away from the "Here we are at ___ and here we are at _____"...


Safe inside the ferry with Nana...where she can happily watch out the window and had no idea I was there. 


Sitting in PawPaw's favorite rockers overlooking the ocean


She'd been obsessing about finding a shell to hear the ocean. At the Conservancy, she finally got her chance. 


My nephew Henry trying to like ice cream, but he just didn't really like it and we were cracking up at his reactions. 

We were all hot and uncomfortable this night, but damned if she wasn't going to get a butterfly on her face. In this one, I actually enjoy the painter's focus and her care for my kiddo.

So serious about her ice cream eating, and I couldn't resist that background. Treats always help the kids stay still, too.

7. You can easily change a photo that doesn't have the greatest coloring (often phone pictures) to black and white and get a fabulous result. Black and white is great for adding drama to a little moment.

Low light from a stormy day made this one hard to fix in color.

Because you're not going to get out your DSLR at a stoplight but can use the rear-facing phone camera real quick!

The original had lots of washing out from bright light, but the black and white toned it down. It did not tone down the desire for her to get the sand off her hands. 

8. Just take the phone when it's a bright sunny days at the beach or pool. It's risky to take the camera, and the phone gives a much bluer sky.


9. Don't forget the scenery. It might not be as fun as your cuties, but these shots make for a great cover to an album or for a large, meaningful piece in your home. Or you can add text to them on Picmonkey.





10. Get a few selfies, even if you have zero makeup on, it's 10 PM and 99% humidity. Because it's better than no picture at all, and mamas rarely make it in the photo anymore!



And if you are the type who just wants to live in the moment and come back with no photos, that's fine too. You do you :)  But, there is a way to strike a balance or use these tips to help you take fewer, better photos. Happy travels!



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