Vacation Photography Do’s & Don’ts

by Eric Von Lehmden | June 16, 2014

vacation photography

Let’s talk about going on vacation. For serious amateur photographers going on vacation presents amazing new photo opportunities. It is very exciting. So much so that the vacation photography part can overwhelm the vacation part. Trust me, I know from experience. As a professional photographer I have put pressure on myself while going on vacation to get these amazing photos. I wasn’t getting paid to take great photos, but because I love photography and was in this new exciting environment I put undue pressure on myself to capture gallery quality images. Fortunately for some of these trips I was traveling by myself or I would have probably ended up ruining the trip for my loved ones.

Before we get into my do’s and don’ts I want to make a note that we are all different. These are things that I have learned from being a professional photographer and serious amateur photographer for 15 years. So take this advice with an open mind and see if they can apply to your upcoming trip.

My second recommendation before even going on your vacation is to sit down and figure out what kind of pictures you really want to take. That can influence what gear you take and how much time you realistically need to spend taking photos.

Onto the list of do’s and don’ts:

First…the Don’ts

Don’t take too much gear - Travel as light as you can. Every piece of camera gear is a liability and an added responsibility. You will constantly be on the lookout for theft. Not to mention lugging around a ton of photo equipment is not fun.

Don’t let taking photos overtake the vacation itself - This can be easy to do. If you love photography, you can get lost looking through that viewfinder for the entire trip. This can cause pressure from your spouse and family and cause you to miss special times with them.

Don’t leave your camera unattended or carry too many cameras at one time - Trust me…people are watching you. They could have bad intentions. If you are sitting down to eat make sure your camera is not hanging on the back of your chair on on the ground out of site. The same goes for carrying multiple cameras. This is a recipe for theft. They can easily lift your lens or even cut your camera right from it’s strap…then it’s a foot race and they know the area.

Don’t try to get amazing photos in the middle of the day - Sunny middle of the day photos will rarely be printed for an art gallery showing. If you just want to take some snapshots of landmarks that is fine, but don’t go searching for an amazing subject during the sun drenched hours.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to get the most amazing photos possible - Let the trip come first. Enjoy yourself, enjoy where you are at. Do what you would normally do on vacation and then take cool photos as a secondary reason you are there.

Now the Do’s

Do Research - When you know where the shots are that you want to take it can make your life a lot easier. This way you aren’t constantly worried you are going to miss a shot wherever you go. By doing the research ahead of times you can pick the places you really want to get great shots in.

Do take minimal gear - I have made the mistake of taking 50+ pounds of camera equipment with me while on vacation. After lugging that load around Europe once (and only using one camera 90% of the time) I know that I only need the absolute minimum to keep shooting for the whole trip. Plus remember…the more you take the more of a burden and stress it can be to keep it safe.

Do pick and choose your time of day to get the best scenic photos from your trip - Early in the morning and right before sunset are the target times of day for your scenic images. Doing that research ahead of time and ending up in those places in that time can make your trip that much more enjoyable.

Above all, be safe and have fun. That is the whole point of going on vacation. Enjoy the memories you make with your family and friends. You might miss a few shots, but you will enjoy the experience a whole lot more.

This article is written for Canvas Press. To find out more about Canvas Press’ products visit www.canvaspress.com.

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