Picturing New Ways To Take Great Family Photos
By: Stephen Johnson
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.
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.
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.
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.