By Russ Burden
It’s time for the family to plan its annual vacation. So just how does the photographer in you get appeased? You can still get your pixel-capturing fix by adopting a few of the following suggestions and agreeing on a few compromises beforehand.
a) While the family sleeps and relaxes in
the morning, head out for a few hours at sunrise to capture the great light on whatever subject you fancy. From the tallest skyscraper to a tiny flower, subjects bathed in the warm light of sunrise look great.
b) Accept the fact sunset is family time,
but expect a compromise that maybe you get to claim a few sunsets for yourself. Some sunsets may mean you’re out photographing other families involved in their activities (get their permission first!) or the same scenery from your morning shots – to see how different light can change the picture.
c) During the day, when it’s family time, keep everyone very active. You may wear them out enough so all they want to do for sunset is relax – and you wind up with a bonus family shoot.
d) During the day, when the light is not at its best, augment with fill flash, and focus on your family members. Try to keep the photography low-key so it doesn’t become the priority. Let your family have fun while you simply document the events. Orchestrating a full-blown shoot may wind up backfiring.
e) Use a trusty point and shoot rather than carting around all your gear. Having your complete pack connotes you are taking charge and infringing on their time. Using a point and shoot is less intimidating, and you’re still getting your fix.
f) Don’t expect the vacation to be like it was when you had the luxury of being on a photo tour where the entire focus was getting great shots. While you may wish it to be that way, lower your standards, which, in turn, will make every image you capture more special.
g) Give the camera to your spouse or kids. Let them take a few pictures, and allow them to share in your enthusiasm. More often than not, the photographer in the family is the person who seems to not have gone on the trip. Let the others take shots of you, and have some fun posing.
h) Use the trip to create a nice family portrait that can be used as a holiday card. Turn it into a fun event. Let the kids get goofy for a few shots. While it may not make the cover of National Geographic, you’re still practicing your skills of lighting, posing, and composition.
While I don’t profess to be a psychologist, I’ve incorporated a few of the above principles on some family vacations – and they do work. Use the ones that seem the most appropriate for you and your family. Good luck and good picture taking.
To learn more about this topic, join me on one of my photographic nature tours. Visit www.russburdenphotography.com, and click on the “Nature Photo Tours” button for more information. Also, pick up a copy of my book, “Amphoto’s Complete Book of Photography.” A signed copy can be purchased directly from me, or visit your local bookstore or Amazon.com. Contact me at email@example.com to order a signed copy.