Becoming a Pro Photographer: Tips For Photographing Family Vacations

When a person is just starting out in the photography world, it can be difficult to get out or get away and find new things to photograph. This was particularly true in my case. I was a stay at home mom who loved photography and wanted to turn it into a business, but I still had a little boy at home and he was my full time job. I started to get experience by photographing family vacations.

Family vacations gave me opportunities to visit new places and photograph new sites. Since we were going anyway, I didn’t incur a lot of extra expenses that a photography trip would generate. Truthfully, the bulk of my stock photos have come from photographing family vacations. And there are some things I have learned along the way.

When photographing family vacations, I find it can be really hard to stop long enough to really look around. I’m focused on spending quality time with my family and I don’t want to short change them. Having to divide my attention isn’t a bad thing, I mean, after all, family vacations are supposed to be about time with family, right? But when you also love photography and want to take advantage of every moment, finding that balance can be a real struggle. Keeping the following tips in mind can help alleviate any extra stress and remember, if you don’t get the image you want, you can always go back another time!

Pro Tip: Look around a lot.

The scavenger hunt list reminded me that it’s important to look around a lot. The two photos above were literally taken from 2 sides of the same corner. I would have missed one or the other of them if they hadn’t been on the list. When I’m with my family, it’s so easy to get focused on where we’re going, that I forget to look around along the way. I took the one of the houses first; it’s Longitude Lane. I loved the picture and was thrilled to find an empty street in the middle of the day. 

Pro Tip: Turn Around

Next Kevin had me turn around and wow!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wall built around a tree like that. It was so fascinating to look at. We also enjoyed investigating how the tree has grown since the wall was built. The photo not for publication was my son trying to climb said tree… 🙂

When I’m out with the family, my powers of observation aren’t always the best. Those people can be really distracting. 🙂 This adventure reminded me that sometimes I need to turn around before I move on. Occasionally, I get to see something that makes a great photograph and really gives us something to talk about!

Pro Tip: Make a Game of It with the kids

Depending on the age your children, it can be fun to involve the children in the act of taking photos. Although my son has long since lost interest in photography (a sad thing for me), when he was little we would look around together to find interesting things to take photos of. I would take a picture. Then I would let him take a picture. By doing that, I was able to spend time with my son and take some great photos.

Along with making it a game, letting the kids take photos can also be a learning experience for the kids. The photos below were taken to show my son how changing the settings on a camera affects the exposure and depth of field in the image. These aren’t great photos, but they did make the point I was trying to teach him.

Teaching Kids Photography
These we taken to show my son how the different settings change the way a photo is exposed.

Pro Tip: Take LOTS of photos

The advantage of digital photography is that we can take lots and lots of photos without worrying about added cost. When we travel, I take lots and lots of photos and usually end up with a few good ones that make me proud.

Whether you’re just getting started or trying to start a side hustle photography business, photographing family vacations can be a huge benefit. I mean, time with my family AND pictures to add to my portfolio? It doesn’t get much better than that!

The photos at the beginning of this post are two more photos I took using Kevin McQuade’s residential photo scavenger hunt. You can read more about the impact Kevin’s scavenger hunt had on my photography here. If you like what you see and are planning to visit Charleston, SC, look Kevin up at www.secretcharleston.com  !!

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