It’s that time of year again. Families are taking a break from work and preparing for summer vacation. Whether you’ve planned a beach trip, a mountain retreat, or a staycation, we’ve got tips to help you capture the magic of summer vacation with your phone or camera.
Keep the horizon straight
This might sound like a no brainer, but if you’re not using a tripod to set up your shot, it’s easy to shift your hands or the camera a little, which can tilt that perfectly horizontal horizon a whole lot. So, after you focus on your subject, take a second or two to make sure the horizon is straight.
Get down on their level
This is something I see a lot: parents taking photos of their kids from six feet up in the air. In the shots, their kids are looking up, or you see more bowl cut and not much of their adorable faces. Sit down, crouch, or get down on your knees. You’ll capture a shot that feels like you’re looking into your children’s eyes or capture a memory from their completely different and fascinating perspective. Some of my all-time favorite shots of Owen and Sadie are taken from just two or three feet off the ground. This technique works well for your four-legged kids too.
Work with the sun, not against it
Chances are most of your vacation photos will be “lit naturally,” meaning you will rely on the sun or other lights around you. If you’re outside, work with the sun, not against it. When the sun is directly behind your subjects, they’ll appear dark in your shots, and the background will be very bright. When your subjects are in front of the sun, they’ll probably squint. Neither outcome is ideal. I recommend that you find some shade so your shot will be evenly lit without dark or squinting people. If you can’t find the shade, put your subjects backs to the sun and turn on your camera flash to act as fill light.
Fill the frame
Identify your subject, and then fill the frame with it. Finding the right balance of scene and subject is something you still need to be aware of, but your phone or camera only has so many pixels, take advantage, and use them all.