Want gorgeous pictures, but hate lugging your big, expensive camera on family vacations? I have struggled with this for years. Add three kids to the mix and it is pure chaos!
Lately, I have only been taking my iPhone on trips. I gathered some lessons I've learned for making the most of your memories with these tiny machines and included examples from my recent trip to Ireland.
1. Choose wisely on your framing. Set up your shot with good composition in mind. For landscape shots, try to place the horizon in the top third or bottom third of your image. And beware of clutter in your shot. Sometimes just a few steps to the left or right can dramatically change your image!
3. Include yourself in some of your shots. This is so important. Include your kids, your family, but make sure YOU get in some of the shots. Even if it isn’t important to you, in 10, 20, 30 years your family will be so glad to have those memories of you.
4. Get low. Many shots look a lot better if you are kneeling or even laying on the ground. Mountains look more majestic, buildings look bigger, and getting some foreground in your shot makes it a lot more interesting.
5. Time of day is important. Early in the day or later in the day tend to have better lighting. The sunlight is softer and the sky usually has more color. Plus, people will squint less if it isn’t as bright out.
6. Pick your favorites and edit them ON THE SPOT. But not too many! Try to stick with only 10-15 total from your entire trip. My favorite editing app is Snapseed (for iPhone or for Google Play). I edit my favorites within 5-10 minutes of taking the pictures so I don’t forget which I liked best.
7. Decide what you are doing with the images. Keeping them on your phone indefinitely means they will be lost or forgotten one day. Print them in a quick photo book on Mpix or create small prints and put them in a box labeled with the year. Your family will be able to enjoy them for generations!
Allison Russell is a fine art portrait photographer with a boutique studio based in Mitchell, South Dakota. She specializes in family, children, senior, and sports photography, and has been internationally recognized for her portraits. She lives on a farm south of Mitchell with her husband, three children, two horses, one dog, and her husband's cattle herd.