10 tips for great summer vacation photos

Summer is here!!!

Some of our family’s best memories happen while on vacation.  My littlest just had a vacation-themed birthday party – THAT’s how important vacations are to us!  Here’s some ideas on how to get some great pictures while you’re on vacation.

1.  This is my absolute, number one rule: NO “SAY CHEESE!”

If my kids were “cheesers,” I never would have gotten these shots…sarah gee photography-9532 copy sarah gee photography-0887 sarah gee photography-1296 sarah gee photography-1355My kids do not say “cheese.”  It can actually be kind of an awkward moment sometimes when someone is trying to get a group picture with my kids in it, and they’re just looking blankly at the camera or paying no attention whatsoever when the camera-holder is saying again and again, “say cheese!” or “smile!”  Nothing can ruin a beautiful moment like a fake smile, which is exactly what kids learn to do when we are asking them to smile on command.  If you have kids, just let them be kids:)  Have your camera ready, and I promise you’ll get a genuine smile.

2. Get in close, back out.

Both vantage points offer something different, and can help tell your story.sarah gee photography-9789 sarah gee photography-9896 sarah gee photography-9629 sarah gee photography-9627

3. Pay attention to the light.  

Watch for squinty eyes and bad lighting.  Being conscious of this and just taking a step over can sometimes make a dramatic difference.  My favorite time to shoot is around sunset, but any time of day can work as long as you are aware of how the light is affecting your people.sarah gee photography-9806 sarah gee photography-1349

4. Take a few pictures of things.

I know, right?  If you know me well, you’re scratching your head right now, because you know I generally don’t care about things.  But sometimes the things help tell your story.  This mangy cat pictured below came everywhere with my daughter last summer, and seeing a picture of it brings me right back to a certain time of her life.sarah gee photography-1004sarah gee photography-1427

5. Get the everyday moments, not just the big ones with the beautiful backgrounds.

This rainy day led to some of my most favorite pictures from this vacation!  We were camping, and didn’t really do much this day because of the rain.  But the everyday-ness of it was pretty beautiful.sarah gee photography-9568 sarah gee photography-9563

6. Get in some yourself!

Of course I’m always the one with the camera in my hands, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get in some too.  The best is when you can get someone else to snag a picture of you, but there are other creative ways to get in those pictures, too.  I take pictures of my feet or in a mirror or my hand toasting a glass as we “cheers.”

These pictures make me remember another rainy day we had when I snuggled up with the girls and watched a movie.  Your kids will thank you for getting in pictures, too.  You’re not going to look like a supermodel in each one.  That’s ok.   It’s not the point at all.Untitled-1 copy

7.  If you are photographing kids, get down on their level.

Take a look at this next picture and imagine if I had stayed standing.  We would have had a picture of the tops of their heads.  Getting down on their level gives us a little peek into their world.sarah gee photography-9644

8. It’s ok to have people in those landscapes.  

Without that tiny pinkness that is my daughter in this picture, you really wouldn’t have a sense of the grand scale of this palm oasis.columbus ohio photographer, palm springs vacation

9.  The best camera is the one you have with you.

Cell phone cameras are pretty amazing these days.  I don’t want to drag my big camera around with my everywhere.  But I nearly always have my phone.  IMG_3116 IMG_3222

10.  And a really important one: Put the camera down!

Don’t feel the urge to capture every. single. moment. It’s not only impossible, but will also have you missing out on some really beautiful times with the ones you love.  Put that camera down and use those arms to hold the ones you love!  Go play!

And if you’d like, TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!  Seriously.  I have a free companion pass to wherever Southwest flies this year.  I love to travel, and we could work out something really fun!

For some more ideas about enjoying summer, sign up for “the everyday adventurer.”

Click here if you’d like to chat about getting some great images from your vacation (or just every day summer fun!).  And if you put these ideas to use, I’d love to hear about it!  Wishing you a summer full of adventure!!!

7 thoughts on “10 tips for great summer vacation photos

  1. Fantastic tips! I don’t photograph children much but we will be taking a few camping trips this summer so I’m excited to get some great photos of my own kids!


  2. Great tips! I love #9 and #10. All too often we’re tempted to not take pics because we only have our camera phone. And sometimes – we have to live in the moment not capture it. 🙂


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