Taking your own photos on vacation and loving them! part 4


I might have saved the best for last. This final post on taking better photos is pretty important! Get ready to see a huge shift in your photography when you pay attention to... Light. This is so big. So so big. I've spent the last 15 years as a professional photographer and what I can tell you that you may not know is light is the number one thing most photographers are paying attention to and/or manipulating. Photography is documentation of the way intangible light effects tangible objects. This is why sometimes the images you take look different than they do in real life. And when non-pros start really paying attention to light, their photographs see a huge shift. Yes other things are important too (composition) but stay with me in thinking about light right now.

portugese boats

This photo was taken in the very early morning. Yes sometimes you have to get yourself out of bed early just to see a place with different light, which makes such an impact. I let the sky be completely overexposed. I like how surreal the scene looks. This wasn't about how it actually looked to the human eye. This is your chance to be creative! Put your camera in manual mode (yes you must! manual mode is a must!) Play around with the aperture and shutter speed. Have some fun! See what magical images come from your experiments. And delete the rest - that's the beauty of digital film!

Time of day also changes things a great deal. Generally speaking, morning light is often cooler in tones- more blue; evenings are usually warmer- more yellow or pink; and mid day is bright and colors are more true. Every situation is different of course. If you want a super blue ocean or sky- mid day might work out best. I generally prefer afternoon to early evening. I like warm side light. The photo at the top of this post was taken in afternoon light. Yes the sky really was that pinkish purple color!

greece art fare



These 3 photos shot in Santorini show the 3 different times of day affecting basically the same shot.


Look for big scenes. Big water. Big sky. Big skylines. Some of these could be great as home art (which I talk about a ton in the series How to Turn your Photos into Art!) Instead of relying on West Elm and other chain stores to get generic art- make your own! You can totally do this and I show you how in these posts. For now, let's focus on taking the picture.

dominican republic

Look for scenes that are expansive and possibly repetitive. A grove of palm trees? Awesome. A big beautiful ocean? Perfect! I turned the photo below into wallpaper that covers a huge wall in our stairwell. It is AWESOME. I love that it is from a vacation we took as a family, and obviously it's just a beautiful combination of colors. When you turn a photo like this into wallpaper, it's blown up so large it becomes almost abstract. The colors and texture are what you feel the most.

hawaii ocean

Take the time to get your lines straight. Play around with different times of day. Get it perfect and then do something with it.

I hope all of this info was super helpful and inspiring! And that you are busy planning your next trip and day dreaming about the rad photos you will be taking on it! If you have any questions please feel free to ask them in the comments below. I'm happy to help in any way I can!

All of the photos here are available in my shop. Just click on the photo. Because if you see something here you love, you should have it!