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Family Vacation Photography Tips
Family Vacation Photography Tips

Summer is here and families are vacationing. Olympus Visionary Anne Day says you can capture your vacation and take great pictures of your kids and family if you follow a few simple tips:

1.Try to think of your family vacation as a story.

ShipIn addition to photographing your family, it is nice to have some establishing shots that put the vacation on a timeline, like the plane or car ride, the moment your family arrives at your destination, maybe the kids packing up to leave at the hotel. Eventually, you’ll have enough material to tell a full story of your time away.

2. Always have your camera with you.

WaterslideThat great shot you tell your friends about when the dolphin nuzzled up to little Sammy at the aquarium is not a great shot if you forgot to bring your camera. A lightweight, all-weather waterproof point-and-shoot like the STYLUS TOUGH-6000 or STYLUS TOUGH-8000 is perfect for any vacation dive or climb. Or, if you like interchangeable lenses and more control of the image, the E-420 and Olympus PEN are extraordinarily lightweight and very easy to use.

Cowboy 3. If you’re taking a portrait, always be aware of your light source.

Try to work with the light you have.  If it is too bright and sunny, try putting your subject inside using a window as your main light source; the background will go dark and the face will pop.  Cloudy days are best for portraits of your kids—no squinting or harsh shadows on faces.  I usually use the Olympus E-3 with the 12-60mm lens.  I have always been happy with my Olympus lenses because the white balance and rendition of color is exactly how I see the world.         

Art filter photo 4. Add color to your vacation shots.

Many of Olympus’ new E-System cameras come complete with in-camera art filters that put creative freedom in the palm of your hands.  The E-620, E-30, and Olympus PEN digital SLRs have six art filters, including Pop Art, Grainy Film, Soft Focus and Pin Hole.  Take a shot of your daughter in the ice cream shop with the Pop Art filter to add funky, vibrant color to the image.  Shoot the beach in Grainy Film for a dramatic, romantic effect.  There are endless creative possibilities.

5. Don’t put your finger over the lens.

Need I say more?

Splashing 6. Extraordinary pictures can be made in ordinary situations.

What matters most is that you catch the children unaware and try to capture them in their most natural moments—before they force a big, fake toothy smile.  Some of my favorite shots of my children and their friends involve them just doing what they do—girls washing fruit in the kitchen sink, my boys on their bikes or jumping off a diving board.

Swinging 7. Keep it moving.

I love movement. I like to photograph my children jumping, dancing, enjoying vacation. Whatever motion I can capture. To freeze the motion without flash, make sure you use a fast shutter speed—no slower than 1/250 second—1/1000 second if you want to really freeze the action. If you don't have enough light, try boosting your ISO. I like to see a bit of a blur, so sometimes I pan the action. When it is dark enough, I use a slow shutter speed and an on-camera flash to stop the action. To include some ambient light, use your camera meter or the nighttime portrait setting.

8. Savor the moment!

Note: Photography courtesy of Anne Day; shot with Olympus E-System cameras and lenses.

About Anne Day
Anne Day

Anne Day is a freelance photographer and writer based in New York and Connecticut. Her work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Fortune, Vogue and other publications. As a photojournalist she has covered events in Haiti, Cuba, South Africa and Namibia, as well as American Presidential Inaugurations, school picnics, weddings, birthday parties and "grip and grin" events in New York City. Anne lives in Northwestern Connecticut with her husband and three children, ages 8, 10 and 12. Anne primarily shoots with Olympus E-System digital cameras. For more about Anne, please visit her official Web site.

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