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Tips for photographing your family vacation to preserve and provoke family memories.

My family and I just returned from an amazing two week camping journey up the coast of California.  Yes, we are a little crazy to take four girls, one being a ten month old baby, on a 3,200 mile journey, camping the whole way, but that would be another blog all together!

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The point is, after all the hard work of making the memories, I want my little ones to have those memories documented for the rest of their lives.  Surely my littlest will have no recollection, but now she has these images to prove she was a part of it all.
I’ve had friends tell me that they are not sure what to photograph on vacation, or that they had their camera, but just didn’t take it out.  Sometimes we are wrapped up in the experience, and snapping a photo is the last thing we are thinking about.  You don’t have to walk around with a camera around your neck to successfully document your family fun, though I have been known to do that, but you do need to be prepared and intentional if you want to come home with photos that can tell and retell your story as the years pass.

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Of course, there are several things to photograph while out and about – the world is full of beauty to be photographed, but I’m going to focus on tips that will help your family remember the good times spent vacationing.

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-Keep your camera in a handy and accessible place.  If you are an i-phone user, you have no excuse!  If you prefer a SLR or other separate camera, keep it in a bag with you whenever you can.  This includes in the car.  You never know what you will pass, or see on one of your stops.  Or what you may see IN your car!

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-When out, whether exploring or relaxing, be sure to intentionally take your camera out at least one time and photograph your location, your family enjoying the location, and if you get a chance either pass the camera off – or have someone take a picture of you and your family in that location.  This only needs to take 5 or 10 minutes and does not need to be an ordeal.  A quick “hey, look over here” while your kids are playing on the beach is well worth it.
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-Don’t wait for what you think is the perfect picturesque moment.  If you do, you will miss out.  Don’t think back to someone else’s photo that you’ve seen, waiting for your family to be in that magical moment.  Take the camera out and snap a few action shots of the kids playing, walking in the distance, sitting and reflecting, or interacting in some way.  Sometimes, it really seems more “magical” when you look back on the image than it did when you took it!

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-If you are at a famous landmark, go ahead and be sure to have someone take the family shot in front of it!  Yes, it is cheesy and hundreds, probably thousands of other families may have the same photo, but this is your family and you made it to where you set out to go.  You are photographing to document your time together.  Cheesy family moments are awesome.   
-Learn the basics of your camera and lighting. This will make a huge difference.  So many times I’ve seen what could have been a great picture ruined because the background was super bright, and the people were almost too dark to see because there was no flash.  Or, if possible, turning another direction would have solved the problem.

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Remember, this is the digital age.  You can trash the images that don’t work out without wasting anything but a few seconds.  Experiment and have fun.  Make picture taking part of your family vacation, it will be well worth it.
Hopefully these are helpful tips, and if you are one that has regretted not taking any or enough photographs while on vacation, next time you can be armed and ready. 
I hope these tips for photographing your family vacation to preserve and provoke family memories has helped you capture many wonderful images of your family.
  

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