How to Take Great Family Travel Photos


I received a Canon digital camera for my birthday just prior to our family trip to Germany and Denmark. My husband’s research of which camera to buy for me was dictated by one crucial factor: I was not interested in manipulating photographic choices for each shot — I just wanted to point and shoot.

But a few weeks later, while on our vacation and using the camera daily, I became curious about the multitude of menu options on my camera and perused its manual, wanting to ensure that I was optimizing pictures of my kids. I fiddled with some settings, and began to experiment. When a few of my photos revealed odd colors and off-kilter stripes in the review mode, I assumed I had pressed some button I should not have and spent valuable vacation time reading the manual’s trouble-shooting pages. Nothing worked. Thankfully, most shots were looking just fine.

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At home later, an internet search provided an answer: faulty memory card. Inserted a new one: problem was solved. The memory card that came with my camera disappointingly caused errors on some of our holiday pictures.

In perusing the links below, I now feel ready to venture into the innermost pages of my camera’s instruction booklet, or at least really think about the particulars such as light, distance, and focus before pressing that take-a-picture button. I feel challenged to see how good I can get my photos to look!

Travel-photo tips from a pro: Don’t just point, shoot, by Spud Hilton of the San Francisco Chronicle via The Seattle Times.
This article addresses the basics about light, positioning your subject, timing, and distance. The advice is credited to photographer, Robert Holmes, and is delivered in a quick, easy to grasp list format.

National Parks Photo Tips: How to Shoot Landscapes Like a Pro, by Lola Akinmade on Fodor’s.
Not tips from National Park photographers, as I had thought, the article instead describes picture taking components for those wanting to capture scenes of landscapes such as those found in National Parks. Uniquely, links to multiple Flickr landscape shots exemplify the use of lighting, angle, perspective, and people. This article shows how to capture scenery.

Shoot Better Travel Photos with 5 Essential Travel Photo Tips, by Naomi Liu on Brave New Traveler.
This is another great basic guide about using flash, avoiding placing your subject in the center, getting close, lighting, and vertical shots. Each tip is concise and includes a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ photo example.

One more: TripBuzz Ultimate Guide to Travel Photography – lots of great links.
Tell us about your great photo taking tips!


Sandy Nielsen


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