Summer is the time when many of us get to take some time away and head out on vacation. Luckily, the digital age has made it easy and convenient to photograph these vacations. Here are a few tips to take with you as you head out on your adventure.

Tip #1: The Journey

Often we think that our vacation starts once we finally have our toes in the sand, but some of the best memories I have of family vacations start before we even got to our destination! I wish we had pictures of our minivan packed to the brim with luggage, games, snacks, and boogie boards. So, take pictures along the way! Take pictures of the kids asleep or reading. Take pictures of the scenery along the route. The little moments along the journey are sometimes as meaningful as actually getting to your destination. Your kids will thank you in twenty years for capturing these little, seemingly unimportant moments.

Tip #2: The Big Picture/Details

Once you arrive at your destination, whether it be the beach, the mountains, another city, etc., make sure you take plenty of pictures that are zoomed out. It is important to be able to see a bigger picture and to take in the whole scene. And, just like you need to take photos of the whole scene, detail shots are also important. Think of seashells, pine cones, street signs. However, don’t just limit yourself to taking pictures of the obvious things. Think outside of the box, too! For example, I love to photograph doors and windows when I am in a new place. There are many fun designs and textures all around us; we just have to learn to see them.

Tip #3: Candids

family vacationDo your kids or spouse despise having their picture taken? No worries. Just sneak and do it anyway! 😉 Taking pictures in candid moments and not setting up every single shot can really make everything more natural and enjoyable for everyone. Some of my favorite childhood pictures are the ones in which we had no idea we were being photographed. The emotion is so genuine and the memories captured are priceless.

Tip #4: Get in the Picture

If you are the one who is always taking pictures, guess what? You won’t be in any. Maybe that was your master plan all along! Hiding behind the camera is the best way to avoid being in any pictures, but I really want to encourage you to occasionally hand the camera over and be in a few pictures yourself. You don’t have to post them and share them with the world, but you should at least be able to prove you actually went on this vacation!

Tip #5: Trigger Happy

The most important tip I can give you is to take lots of pictures! It doesn’t matter if you have the latest and greatest camera or you are shooting with an iPhone 3. OK, maybe not an iPhone 3, but you get the idea. Your pictures don’t have to be perfect. They are not all going to be poster-worthy. What matters is that you are capturing memories that you and your family can cherish for years to come. And don’t forget that when you get home, you need get some of these pictures printed! (Shutterfly is extremely user-friendly!) Maybe it’s old school, but I love the feeling of holding actual pictures in my hands. So, do yourself a favor and get some printed.

Happy photographing on your family vacation!


Caitlyn Wise is a photographer from the mountains of North Carolina. She studied photography in high school and college and has a Bachelor of Arts-Fine Art Photography. She has been photographing for over ten years and has been teaching photography for seven years. Caitlyn has a passion for photographing the world and people around her. She hopes to instill a bit of that passion for the science and art of photography into her students. Besides photography, Caitlyn also enjoys reading, traveling to see friends and family around the world, and cooking.

Caitlyn teaches Introduction to Photography, Advanced Photography, and Photography Club.

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