It’s hard to believe that winter break has already come and gone. I managed to sneak out and take my son skiing last weekend, and I hope you had a chance to squeeze in some family together time before the kids go back to school. Not only do vacations provide families a much-needed break from the daily grind, but I also think they’re a great opportunity to capture some special moments together. And because of that, I wanted to share a few of my favorite quick tips to help you capture those memories while traveling:
- Make a plan for power. Not it’s not as fun as thinking about cool backdrops or funny poses, but the simple fact is that dead batteries ruin great photo opportunities. Learn to manage power with spare batteries and chargers (plan ahead with a power adapter, if you’re going international), and you’ll never miss that epic “shot that could have been.”
- Protect your gear. Cameras and smartphones are particularly susceptible to damage from moisture and falls, so take proper precautions, especially if you’re active. Invest in a padded, waterproof camera bag, keep memory cards away from anything with a magnetic field while going through airport security, and consider picking up a pack of silica gel to further reduce moisture, if you’re headed someplace humid.
- Avoid clichéd shots. Resist the urge to pose people awkwardly in front of landmarks and monuments. Not only will your family’s patience wear thin (I speak from experience), but it also makes for generic pictures post-vacation. Instead, make it a game to challenge the group to create clever poses and compositions that haven’t been done before.
- Plant the seed. Usually one person assumes the role of unofficial family photographer, but don’t let that be the default on family trips! They don’t have to be expensive – even a drugstore point-and-shoot will do – but giving kids cameras is a great way to keep them entertained as they capture the vacation from their perspective. You may be pleasantly surprised at what they can come up with!
- Remember the three B’s: Bring storage, Back up files – and above all, Be creative! The first two are pretty self-explanatory; there’s no use in taking the time to take great photos if you run out of shots the second day of the trip or – I hate to even say it – accidentally delete everything. So pack ample storage, and remember to regularly transfer photos to your online account (Photobucket!) to make sure those memories are safe. But, bottom line, enjoy your camera, experiment with new lenses, functions and features and just have fun with photography on your trip. Whether it’s an international excursion or a short staycation, you’re making memories that are worth capturing.