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3 Photography Tips For Capturing Vacations

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While I usually focus on business around here, let's talk summer trips!

I hope everyone gets a chance to take a break from the office or laptop to enjoy the summer and capture the fun with these top 3 tips - I am going to use my family's trip to Washington D.C. for examples:

Lighting: a good example where contrast light is helpful to accentuate the details of the National Archives building.

Lighting: a good example where contrast light is helpful to accentuate the details of the National Archives building.

1. Pay attention to the light - this is the difference of an okay photo to a wow-level photo, and why Ansel Adams captured nature the way he did, often waiting hours to photograph a mountain in just the right light. As he said, "You don't take a photograph, you make it." So, as a general rule the best landscape lighting is during the morning or evenings. Not a hard and fast rule if you're say in the desert, or photographing a sculpture or buildng where contrast is helpful, but it helps to cast those lovely shadows and get softer light.

Lucky for us, we attended a ceremonial presentation with the Old Redcoats who provided wonderful perspective with the Washington Monument in the background.

Lucky for us, we attended a ceremonial presentation with the Old Redcoats who provided wonderful perspective with the Washington Monument in the background.

2. People are cool - having someone in your photos even if they aren't facing the camera can often provide perspective and scale. For example, while visiting monuments or man-made structures, it's nice to add scale and perspective. And, yes, if you're traveling with family and friends, adding them into the photos makes for more meaningful photographs.

Perspective inside the Smithsonian Art Museum.

Perspective inside the Smithsonian Art Museum.

3. Perspective is everything - this one is harder to learn, but once you've got it, you are set! When you're photographing people and animals, it's best to keep your angle at eye-level as it is most engaging and flattering. But, when you're photographing environments and unique spaces, you will be surprised what you get when you change perspective and kneel down on the ground to photograph a forest trail, for example, or look straight up at a ceiling. These little shifts in your perspective yield interesting and fun photographs.

Questions? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Wishing you a fun rest of the summer!

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