5 tips for taking pictures on vacation

Stephanie Bryan Photography - 5 tips for taking pictures on vacation

Vacations are amazing. I count down the days, hours, minutes until we can throw alllllll of our stuff in a bag and head out for some fun in the sun. EVERY single trip we take, I always have the BIGGEST plans for photo ideas, day trips, adventures and more. But...as soon as we get there and get unpacked, I typically lose all of my creative motivation and my camera ends up just sitting in it's bag. I'm here to tell you that's TOTALLY ok. I promise. 

Vacations are a time for rest and relaxation. It's a time to unplug, unwind and recharge your batteries. Yes, it's still somewhat stressful if you're traveling as a family, but it's still that time to stop, play with your kids and just "be". I still want our trip to documented, and there's nothing like a sandy beach or tropical scenery to inspire you to take some photos, so I try to follow a few simple "rules" on vacation. 


1. Pick a day or two to bring your camera out with you.

If you are like me and struggle with the "omg, this place is gorgeous, I need a 100 pictures" and "but I just don't want to lug this camera around every day" scenarios, then pick 1 or 2 days to pack your camera in your bag when you're heading out. I usually use the first few days of our vacation to sit and relax while scoping out ALL of the fun spots, locations and backdrops that might be awesome for some photos. Then, later in the week, I bring my camera with me and take all those shots. Obviously this scenario works best if you are staying at one location for the entire trip (like a resort or beach). If we are going out to explore or on an adventure, I usually always bring my camera along just in case. 

2. Chill during the day, snap at sunset.

Heading out to the beach to watch the sunset is one of our family's very favorite things to do. We go almost every single night and the kids play around while my husband and I just sit and take it all in. By this time, my kids are likely done with playing in the ocean, so I "bribe" them to wear something cute and am able to sit back and take a few photos while they wander around. And most everyone else on vacation is eating dinner or planning to go out at this point, so the beaches and public areas are typically less crowded. 

3. Lag behind the troops.

I'm pretty sure about 90% of my photos are taken while I'm lurking behind my kids/family. I always try to capture our day and moments as I see them...not necessarily posed and smiling....so staying a few steps behind everyone else can help capture those times. 

4. Look for color.

There's something about summer that screams color and, as I mentioned, I am always on the lookout for colorful walls, foliage and other backdrops that make for an interested composition. Again, I usually take notice of these spots the first few days of our trip and then try to venture back later in the week with my camera. I've found that early morning and just before sunset are awesome times to snag a "crowd-free" shots in these spots. 

5. Relax + enjoy the process.

It is SO easy to get caught up with wanting to capture your vacation days and all those beautiful moments. It's also easy to get frustrated if your kids won't cooperative, or if the crowds are crazy (and you chicken out). Just relax and enjoy yourself. Enjoy the vacation. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy doing something other than laundry or dishes. Maybe put the camera away for the evening and play in the sand with your kids. Those memories are still being made, even if you don't have them captured on film. 


looking for more inspiration + tips?