“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “
Why are you passionate about photographing your family on vacation?
Mr. Roger’s said it best when he said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
My photography thrives when I am capturing my children engaged in play. While they are busy learning through playing I have the opportunity to observe the light and colors and perspectives and plan my image. Their play leads me and when I follow I am challenged to create something with my photography.
With kids in elementary school, summer break means less structure and more time to take a vacation or as we say…. go on an adventure. Our adventures can range from an afternoon outing to a seven-night vacation. Although they differ in length these trips always include the opportunity for the kids to play; swimming at the beach, feeding farm animals, throwing snowballs, or biking around a local campground.
When did you first realize you liked this topic?
Vacations can seem more like trips when taking along young children! When I was able to replace the diaper bag with my camera gear and reduce the extra baggage I was also able to begin to relax just enough to begin documenting our family outings with more freedom.
Throughout this natural learning process, I noticed that the images I find most impactful combine joy and movement and that my children exhibit these attributes frequently while on adventures.
What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique?
- It doesn’t have to be a two week or even a two day vacation. An adventure around town can be a 2 hour vacation!
- If you aren’t comfortable shooting in public then it won’t be any easier on vacation. To practice being confident in public take mini-adventures to a farm, a cute ice cream store, find some ducks to feed, etc.
- Observe first. Before taking your camera out look around and plan your shot. Notice the light, the perspective, leading lines, pops of color, etc.
- Capture the kids engaged in an activity they love. Throwing snow balls, jumping waves, working on a puzzle, playing a card game, roasting marshmallows.
- What does vacation mean to you? The extra time to make bacon and eggs at the rental house? Coffee on the balcony? A messy kitchen? Your new shell collection? Make sure to capture these details of your trip!
- Be thoughtful about when you decide to carry your gear with you as you don’t have to have it 24/7. I take into account the light as well as what activity we will be engaging in during that time.
- Include yourself! Get to know your timer feature or invest in a remote. Set up your camera (on a table, beach blanket, counter), join your family and let the shutter click away with you in it!
- Try something new! Rent a lens or take short video clips that you can then put into a movie.
What were the challenges for you in the beginning?
I was snap happy! Wanting to capture everything about the vacation kept me from enjoying the time with my family. Now I strive for balance. I ask myself, “What’s the point/story” before I pull out my camera. Why is this moment important? This way I’m not shooting everything.
Also, everything is new when you are on vacation. I was constantly changing my settings and moving myself around without thinking ahead and it was not relaxing!
With more experience and my love of capturing movement I embrace the challenge of the unknown and it encourages my creativity!
About the photographer:
Maggie is a natural light family photographer exploring the Tampa Bay area with local families. She fills her beloved annual photo album with storyboards of family adventures to the local dairy farm, strawberry fields, favorite Florida beaches, and Disney World.
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