Vacation pictures. Only as meaningless as you make them

Don’t be fooled, that was a pretty tricky shot to make. Insane contrast due to blazing sun (that the camera handled rather graciously, and that I finished polishing in Post, processing, that is), fast, unpredictable action, and limited angle.

For a vast majority of people, vacation is THE photo taking opportunity. So, you feel compelled to click a lot, but at the same time shooting (pun not intended) your expectations in the foot by thinking “it’s only vacation pics”. So what ?? As a portraitist focused mainly on my child and closer relatives, it drives me absolutely mental to hear/ride people looking down on “family photos”, like it’s a kind of inherently inferior genre. If you’re a lousy photographer, sure, your kiddy snaps are gonna suck just as much as the rest of the crap you shoot. A capable photog’, though, will make pics as remarkable on the beach or over a birthday cake as they would on more “serious” occasions.

Same applies to your vacation pics. Maybe it’s just a matter of how you look around you. You can do the touristy thing and just snap away with no planning or thinking. Or you can try to see a little further and catch the details, the light, the outline, the atmosphere. Everything that makes the place what it is. Think capturing colors. Think pleasing backgrounds (or blurring those who are not). Try to envision whatever encapsule the atmosphere, or the specific detail that will bring back the whole experience later. For instance, this shot brings me instantly back to Plazza Jemaa El Efna in Marrakech, Morroco.

Or this one to a jembe lesson in a blisteringly hot case in Senegal

But one look this one brings the temperature down a notch instantly

So while you rub shoulders with the pack to get that mandatory vista, don’t forget to grab whatever catches your own attention. Looking back at the bulk of photos some time later, you might be surprise to find that the best pictures are indeed not the postcard shots (you most likely failed to emulate), but the more personal compositions that speak and remind you of YOUR time there (in this regard, the dogsled shot takes me back every time to this absolutely unique and magical moment in our life ;I strongly recommend you MUST experience this if you travel to the Russo-Finnish border).

A few more from our Marrocan vacation :

And of course, don’t forget the silly pics, they’re probably the most precious of all !


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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