4 Tips for Better Vacation Pics (with any camera)

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For anyone soaking up the last bit of summer vacation – whether it’s a full blown family vacation, a day-trip staycation, or just the everyday moments of having kiddos home, these four tips will help you capture the memories that will make you look back smile, and relive those fun summer days.

One of the members of our SPS community, Eric Criswell, is well known for his AMAZING travel shots.  If you aren’t familiar with his work, first thing’s first, check out some of Eric’s work on his Instagram account.  You’ll notice two things: (1) Great pics of amazing places and (2) lots of them!

Eric’s got a LOT of gear, but here’s the best thing – the tips he’s sharing here have ZERO to do with gear and all to do with the mindset of becoming more aware of your environment. 

1. STOP

My number one rule for capturing great vacation shots is to STOP.  When you are in that vacation spot and something catches your eye or you see something in that perfect lighting…Simply STOP.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been driving down the road and seen something that catches my eye and I’ve told myself I’m coming back through here this afternoon and I’ll have time to stop.  Hours later, I come back through and ……WHAT HAPPENED!  This place is totally different.

Moral of the story is take the shot when the shot is recognized….When your eye twinkles….it’s time to STOP.  This tip alone will change the success of your vacation shots.  You drive by more amazing shots on a typical vacation day than you cull away and they aren’t in your gallery just because you didn’t STOP.

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2. SHOOT OFTEN

As travelers, we like to eat two or three times a day, so why not shoot at least two or three times a day.  Definitely get out in the daytime BUT never forget getting out during the night time.  Some locations completely transform at night.  Many locations that are underwhelming during the day are completely overwhelming at night.

Downtown Little Rock is quite a bit like that to me.  There are many bridges that cross the river, and the city is beautiful, but at night the LED lighting on the bridges is just incredible!  The most amazing reflections and colors can be captured but only if you are there at night!

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Another example:  I always tell photographers traveling to the Grand Canyon to make sure you capture the canyon at sunrise, capture a sunset….then….look up and capture the sky.

3. LOOK BEHIND YOU

My dad has always taught me that I should never forget when I’m setting that perfect shot up to look BEHIND me.  Often the best shot isn’t what you are currently capturing, but the thing behind what you think is going to be the star of the shot.  This, for example, happens when you’re shooting that city or landscape at sunset and the perfect lighting is striking the trees, but THEN you turn around and realize the sunset is actually the leading role in your favorite vacation shot!

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4. PEOPLE MATTER

If you’re like most people, you likely don’t travel alone; therefore, while you are seeing these amazing sites don’t forget to get take pictures of your travel companions!  Hey guess what? That includes YOU!  You might have to hand that camera to someone and ask them to take a shot.  Some of my biggest regrets are not having more images of myself and the ones I love, in the places we love to visit!

Side note, my family always laughs when I hand my camera to someone and because it is set in high speed shutter mode  their heavy shutter finger captures 3 to 5 shots.  This comes in handy because the person you hand it to normally doesn’t realize it’s on high speed and their heavy finger causes them jump wild.  This normally makes my family laugh giving me some more shots with some real smiles.

Oh….keep this in mind as well…when you hand your camera to someone else….just make sure you can outrun them!

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We hope you’ve enjoyed not only a new voice here on the blog, but also a new perspective.And remember to check out Eric on Instagram!

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