Hayley, who blogs at Shutterflies and is Birth Mother and Creator of the Living Arrows photography project, is one of my....oh....I was about to say friends with benefits, but that has a totally different meaning!!
Anyway, as a photographer Hayley is a wonderful friend to have. I am able to ask her advice if I need help with my camera, with editing, with additional things to buy, setting up my camera and so on.
With a holiday booked abroad this year I decided that I will most probably take my DSLR rather than my usual choice of a compact, and asked Hayley if she could share some tips.
Some of my favourite photos from my own childhood are from our family holidays so I guess it's only natural that as a mum who loves to take photos, I get excited about the photo opportunities a holiday can bring! Lauren asked me to share some holiday photography pearls of wisdom (never mind….)
What to take
It's tempting to take every bit of camera kit you have but I personally prefer to travel light. Not only will you have to lug your stuff around with you, you don't want anything happening to it while you're away from home. If you use a DSLR, I would take a lens that you use the most and get a UV filter for it if you haven't already. It doesn't make any difference to your photos but keeps your lens safe from scratches and I have a UV filter to thank for saving my favourite portrait lens when my toddler decided to drop it (the filter didn't live to tell the tale but they're not expensive to replace, unlike lenses!). I've never liked to use a traditional camera bag, I think it draws attention to the fact you have a camera with you "Hey look, thieves! I have a Canon camera here in my bag!!". Spare battery if you have one, charger and cards. Lots of cards! I am paranoid about losing my photos so I prefer to have a few smaller cards than one big one so that if something *did* go wrong, I wouldn't lose a whole holidays worth of photos. Another great tip that a friend shared with me recently is to take your camera manual with you incase something goes wrong. You might not have access to Google!
(I actually purchased a UV filter following Hayley's suggestion. Ebay, £1.79 with free P&P, delivered the next day!)
What to snap
I like to tell the story of our holiday from start to finish so our photos usually include a snap at the airport or a pre road trip family selfie! I like to capture all the little details too, cute outfits, signposts and the traditional "standing in front of famous landmarks/points of interest". We all love them!
Film on holiday
I love using film, especially on holiday. I am really awful for checking the back of my camera and wanting to take a shot again to get it better and with film I just can't do that, much to the relief of my poor husband who by day 3 is totally over me going "Hang on! I just want to take that again!". I took a Lomography "toy" camera along on a holiday to New York and I felt so much more relaxed about only having £30 worth of camera to worry about and I love the photos from that trip so much! I really think the tone and colours of film gives a different mood to photos.
Now that the kids are older, they get in on the action too! We started giving them a disposable camera for day trips and while there were some not great photos, it was still fun to see what stood out to them. We got a couple of underwater disposables for a trip to Centre Parcs and the photos from my son and nephews were a brilliant memento of a fun weekend. I will absolutely be getting more for our summer holiday, along with some instax mini films too. Every kid I know loves these little polaroid type photos and while the film is a little expensive, it's great fun to have photos in your hand (and a great distraction for grumpy little people). If you are USA bound, they sell instax film in most Walmarts so you can easily stock up if you need to.
Most importantly…relax. Yes, it's wonderful to have a visual record of these memories but what matters most is that you enjoy time away as a family.