Family holiday photography

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug  Greater flamingos, Camargue, France

To seriously photograph while on holiday with my family is often difficult. We get up too late, take too much time getting somewhere, and then I feel uneasy to make my family wait while I photograph. Therefore, my holiday photography is mostly a private documentation of our family adventures, not to be shared here. However, I do manage to steal away some photography sessions here and there to really immerse myself in a subject. This was also how our recent trip to the south of France ended up as a perfect combination of family photography and "my own" photography; I managed to create a few photographs that I am really happy with. 
The photograph above is one of these compositions. I had envisioned, or rather hoped for, a photograph of moving Greater Flamingos (although in my mental image the water was blue). Since I had a rather clear idea of this photograph beforehand (without really knowing if we were ever getting close enough to any flamingo), I recognized the opportunity when we saw this small flock of wading birds close by. I really like this photograph of moving, foraging and flapping pink birds and the grayish and brownish colors of the water and foreground are even more harmonious than the bright blue in my preconceived mental "photograph". 
Over the years I have learned from my experiences and now better manage to make our trips photographically satisfactory and to have less regrets about missed opportunities. Here are a few tips that work for me and that may help if you are in a similar situation:
  • Most importantly, enjoy the time with your family. You only have a few years to enjoy holidays together. 
  • Prepare for the best (photography-wise), but expect the worst (in my humble experience an incredibly useful motto in any kind of life situation).
  • Minimize your equipment and carry rain coats, picnic and water for your family instead. Thereby you can go on longer hikes and experience much more memorable adventures with your family.
  • Try to pre-visualize a few possible compositions. This will help you recognize those subjects that you want to spend time photographing with. On the other hand, do not only fixate on pre-visualized ideas and try to react spontaneously to what presents itself (even if you are not out "in the field" at the golden hour).
  • Pursue a theme that is independent of time, weather and location, but that can, for example, be pursued during a rest or picnic (you will likely end up with much more unique holiday photographs).
  • Try to engage your family in your photography. They may help discover interesting subjects or, for example, control the light or shadows for macro photographs. You can also try to entice your children and/or spouse to photograph as well (depending on the size of your family you may end up with no camera for yourself, but with a lot more photographs to sort through on your computer).

2014/05/14 by Florian Freimoser
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