According to a recent AAA survey, more than 35% of Americans are planning to take a vacation of 50 miles or more away from home involving two or more immediate family members this year.
Here’s a few tips that will help you not only make some nice photographic memories but also make the trip more enjoyable:
- Don’t carry so much gear that you get bogged down in the technical aspects of making photographs that you forget why you’re on vacation in the first place.
- Don’t buy a new camera right before a trip. This is second worst photographic idea of the history of bad ideas. What’s the first? Last week a photographer asked me (on Thursday) “I’m photographing a wedding on Saturday and have to go buy a zoom lens.” Even the simplest cameras and lenses have lots of features that when you know how to use them make creating great pictures a lot easier than just guessing.
- Do read the manual whenever you get a new camera and don’t be embarrassed to take it on vacation. A manual won’t take up much space and will give you something to read on the plane.
- Do take a second, small camera. As Wayne Gretsky once said, “you miss 100% of shots you don’t take,” so bring along a small camera.
- Do use your flash. When taking pictures of people turning the flash on is one of the simplest ways to improve your photographs. Instead of getting underexposed pictures or silhouettes your friends will pop out of the background, as will the colors.
- Do take pictures in all kinds of weather. My mom used to tell me “don’t be afraid of the rain; you won’t melt.” I protect my camera with a plastic shower cap that most hotels thoughtfully provide for the benefit of the traveling photographer.
- Use your zoom lens to get closer. If you like sharp pictures skip the mostly useless digital zoom many digital cameras features and just take a step or two closer to your subject—unless you’re at edge the edge of a cliff.