Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Picturing New Ways To Take Great Family Photos


As a professional photographer who has shot for everyone from National Geographic Adventure to Modern Bride, I take the same care and planning in photographing personal trips as I do work assignments. It could be my South Pacific honeymoon in a bungalow at the Orient Express Bora Bora Lagoon Resort or a weekend car escape with the family in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

Whatever your travel plans, here are a few pro tips to help you capture memories of a lifetime.

Pack Smart

When I hit the road, I take both my professional digital camera and my smaller digital point-and-shoot (perfect when I want to be less obtrusive, like in Scottish pubs). Make full use of your lenses-wide-angle lenses are ideal for photographing family picnics and museums, wherever you want to include as much foreground as possible. Telephoto lenses aren’t only for photographing wildlife and sports-they also make the best portrait lenses, too.

Power Up

Bypass alkaline batteries in the field and stick with long-lasting Energizer e2 Lithium AA batteries for your digital camera. You’ll not only save money with lithium batteries (they last up to seven times longer) but weight as well (they’re a third lighter). It might not be critical at the family reunion, but it made a difference for me when I covered the recent Explorers Club Expedition up Africa’s highest peak-Mount Kilimanjaro. Since they also perform well in extreme temperatures, I didn’t have to worry about environmental failure. Energizer e2 Lithium batteries have another plus-they were specifically engineered to meet the energy demands of high-tech devices from MP3 players to wireless headsets.

Likewise, shop smart for memory cards, and always have a few extra. If all your vacation is stored on a single memory card or stick and it fails (which it will sometimes), you’ve lost everything. Spread the risk across several cards and invest in high-quality 512MG and 1G cards by a reputable company such as SanDisk.

Click Away

If you want your pictures to improve dramatically, the easiest way is to get closer, much closer. Put on the wide-angle or zoom all the way out and then move into the scene. Kids roughhousing on the lawn? If you’re not getting bumped, you’re not close enough. Gorgeous columbines in a mountain meadow? If you can’t smell them…

Another easy way to get memorable images is to use new angles. How about climbing on top of your pickup to get that photo of the family barbecue? What about taking a photo while you’re on that roller coaster? Sure it will be blurry, but isn’t that the point?

Be creative. Photography is one of the few artistic outlets open to everyone, and in the age of digital cameras and lithium batteries, if you can imagine it, you can shoot it. On a typical assignment, I’ll shoot over 1,000 photographs in a day. On a typical family trip, I take the same amount. Why? Because it doesn’t cost me a penny more, and the more photos you take, the better photographer you’ll become. So go ahead, click away.

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Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Proverbs 29:18

The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
Psalm 24:1-2

He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
Psalm 104:10-13

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number living things both large and small.
Psalm 104:24-25

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.
Ansel Adams

When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!
Ted Grant

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.
Dorothea Lange

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
Ansel Adams

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
Henri Cartier-Bresson

You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
Ansel Adams

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.
Matt Hardy

Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.
Elliott Erwitt

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.
Imogen Cunningham

You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.
William Albert Allard

If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.
Garry Winogrand

I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good.

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.
Ansel Adams

It can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get.
Timothy Allen


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