travel photography while on vacation

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Balancing Travel Photography with a Family Vacation is Tough

When I was a single man, my vacations were dedicated to photography trips. Now that I’m married with a family, it’s more of a balancing act to share travel photography with a family vacation.

Lee and I discuss some of our experiences trying to get the shot while not ruining the family trip. You need some cooperation from your travel companions. We discuss some ideas to get them to share the experience with you or provide some time for you to get your photos.

Travel photography is actually a lonely experience. When you put the camera to your eye and concentrate on a photo, you’re not engaging with your family. Depending upon your circumstances, this may be anything from occasionally interrupting the vacation flow to downright ignoring your family.

It’s hard to concentrate on your photo composition and get the right elements of space and balance when you’re also trying to balance your family experience, but it’s not impossible.

How do you make the most of your photography opportunity without upsetting the rest of your family who have something different in mind for a family vacation? We’ll cover our experiences and provide some recommendations.

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Thank you for joining the Photo Flunky Show, Episode number thirty-four.  The photography podcast that talks to you, not at you.

Today we’re going to be talking about travel photography while on vacation.

William:   Hi, thank you very much for joining the Photo Flunky Show.  My name is William Beem.

Lee:         Hi, I’m Lee.

William:   And if you’d like to get some show notes for this episode and a free transcript of the show, go to and of course there are links to subscribe there.

You can also go to and see all of our shows and just listen to a whole bunch of them.  But of course we’d be happy if you’d subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes.  It really makes us happy and we’d love to hear what you’ve got to say.

OK, before we get started talking about travel photography on vacation, I want to let you know that I have a coupon code for you from MacPhun.  If you’ve got a MacIntosh computer and you’re looking for some great photography software, I really love this stuff.  MacPhun.  Just got to and when you check out, use the code BEEM and you will get a ten per cent discount.

One of the great things that they’ve got over there is Aurora HDR.  It is by far my favorite HDR program.  It is fast, it makes beautiful results and you can do anything that you want from realistic photography with HDR to the completely garish Elvis on velvet; whatever you want to do, whatever your taste and style is and anything in between, Aurora HDR can do it for you.  I’m really happy with it and happy to recommend it.

When we say planning travel photography while on vacation, it kind of goes through a few different modes and I was thinking about this and Lee and I were just talking a little while ago before we started this episode.  Taking photos on vacation has changed.  We got married just over a year ago.  We just celebrated our one year anniversary last month. What I used to do for travel photography before I got married and what I do now is very different. And I think the same is true for you.

Lee:         Oh, absolutely.  It’s completely changed.

William:   Here’s what happened.  Before I was married, I’m a single man.  My vacations were dedicated photography trips.  I knew before I left the reason I was going someplace wasn’t because of attractions that I wanted to experience; they were for things that I specifically wanted to photograph.  So they were destination travel opportunities for me.

Lee:         Yeah, the photography was your experience and the photos were your souvenirs.

William:   That’s great.  If you are single or if you are a couple that both share the same thing and you’ve got the same kind of mindset that you’re in this for the photography and you want to go there, it is a really wonderful thing to do.

You can plan when you’re going to go, make sure you are at your destination at the right time for the scene that you want.  We’ve talked about this before.  There are some places where if you want to get a certain photograph, you have to be there at a specific time of the year and that goes for anything from what we’ve called – there are firefalls I think with the reflection of the sun on waterfalls in Yosemite National Park; there are moonbows, there is Thor’s Well if you want to get it at the high tide and sunset at the same time coinciding ….. There are specific times of the year.  Even just the way the scene looks. There are places in California that in the spring time are beautiful, green rolling hills and other times of the year it’s just ugly dirty brown crap that’s right now burning on fire.

Lee:         I think with a dedicated photography trip if it’s just you or if you’re going with people who share the same interest, you don’t mind waiting. Because with photography there is a lot of dead, waiting around time; setting up time, taking things apart, there is the post processing, which I guess you can do after you get home.  But there is a lot of boring sitting around and waiting.

William:   It’s not just your own trips like that.  If you’re doing a dedicated photography trip you may want to do it as part of a workshop or a photo experience.  The week that this comes out is going to be Photoshop World in Las Vegas.  I’ve gone to those several time a year and always had a great time with it.  Las Vegas is going to be sweltering hot in July!

Lee:         Yes, we know!

William:   It’s just going to be miserable hot out there. I’m not sure why they are doing it in July instead of later in the year as they used to do.  That’s OK.  The hotel is air conditioned very nicely!

Lee:         Yes.

William:   There’s great food, there’s a lot of fun at Photoshop World. It’s a great time.  You’ve got to plan that, obviously, at the time that it comes around as a dedicated photography trip.

There are plenty of opportunities. There are pre conference workshops. They are all day workshops for any kind of dedicated photography you want to do.  If you want to do something with characters, Joe McNally will do something with that.  If you want to do something with cars, Tim Wallace will be over there showing his stuff.  I’ve done concert photography workshops and other excursions.  So there are opportunities to do all kinds of photography.

Plus, Las Vegas itself is just a fun city to go and photography, particularly at night.  There’s all that neon, all the lights, all the signs; everything is great.  And there are – how can I put this?  Just interesting architecture and interesting people.

Lee:         Yes, very interesting people.  Incredibly interesting people!

William:   And if you want to go off and take dedicated photography trips through a workshop, I’ve gone to St Lucia, I’ve gone to Cuba, I’ve gone a number of places throughout the United States on those kinds of workshops and of course there are plenty of them here where I live in the Orlando area in central Florida.  So that’s all fun, but you can go anywhere in the world.

I’ve got some friends that just came back.  One of them stopped in Amsterdam first and then he flew off to take some photos with a group of friends on the Serengeti. Some of the ones that I was with in St Lucia and in Cuba that joined that trip were off taking pictures of animals that would probably bite your face off if you got too close.

That part is wonderful. If you’ve got a dedicated photography trip on vacation you probably already know and you just go out there and photography is your whole purpose.

But what if you have a family?

Lee:         Everything is so different!

William:   And this is what I learned because I was later in life when I got married and I’m so happy that I did!

Lee:         Yay!

William:   See I’ve got to say these things.  I really am happy.  I’m thrilled beyond belief.

But it’s changed for me.  Instead of going off on these dedicated trips where I could honestly be selfish about my photography, now I’ve got a family.  I’ve got a wife and a daughter who are coming along and although Lee is a photographer, our daughter is not.  And if we want to go off and do something with photography, we’ve got to stop and think, what is she going to do?

Lee:         Yeah.  We’ve actually got to the stage where we stop before we plan something and say, OK let’s decide before we plan this.  Is this a photo trip or is this a family trip?  So that we can work it around to suit everybody.

William:   And I can honestly say that the vacations that we’ve had since we got married, I’ve not taken any camera other than my iPhone.

Lee:         Yeah.  In fact even our honeymoon we didn’t take a camera.

William:   Well honeymoon is a little different. I didn’t plan on taking pictures for the honeymoon.

But you know, we took our honeymoon in Las Vegas and I think you may have actually been a little bit sad about that because it was our honeymoon, but it was also the first time you got to go to Las Vegas.

Lee:         Yes it was.  I mean I just would have gone nuts.  I’m a city girl so that was amazing for me.

William:   We had a fun time there.  I mean, we had a nice place to stay, we had great food.

Lee:         Lots of great food!

William:   And one of the most entertaining things that you can imagine was the Electric Daisy Carnival which was going on at the time we were taking our honeymoon.

Lee:         Oh you can never unsee those things.

William:   Oh my!

Lee:         Yeah!

William:   We were staying at Hard Rock Hotel and the outfits that some of the girls were going to the Electric Daisy Carnival were almost wearing is just … they would have made wonderful photos and subjects.

Lee:         Well we just sat down in the lounge for a while and let everybody go by, watching.  It was just entertainment in itself.

William:   I would have loved to have had a camera and some lights and just, you know, “The People of EDC.”

Lee:         They would have loved to pose for photos as well.

William:   I think they would have.  That’s the nice thing.  If you’re nice to people – and they are obviously enthusiastic about what they are doing, because I don’t want to say they dressed up for it; it’s more like they dressed down for it, but just the same – you offer them some of the photos, that would have been a wonderful opportunity.

Lee:         They undressed very colorfully.

William:   They were very colorful indeed.

But if you’re going to be going on a vacation, particularly a family vacation, you almost always start off with taking your pictures because you want to capture memories of the vacation.

Lee:         Yep.  That’s how I started out.

William:   Well, go back to that.  You and Tové were taking your vacations and you were taking pictures, but tell me how it started.

Lee:         Well, I mean from when she was a little kid I always wanted her in the picture. In fact, I very rarely took a photo if there wasn’t a person in it. I’m not into landscapes, I never was – so if I was going to take a photo of an ocean or something, I wanted a person as the subject and it was always her.  I was the only one with a camera so there were no photos of the two of us until she was about nine, when somebody pointed out the fact that I never showed up in any photos.  Maybe she was seven or something?

William:   How old was she when you started?  Like first vacation where you were taking photos?

Lee:         It was just little small local trips so probably from when she was …. I traveled quite a lot with her from when she was a baby. Not so much vacations, but I always took photos of her.  But I think the first big vacation we did was when she was six.

And yes, all my photos – almost all my photos – she featured in them.

William:  OK, so you’re going off, you’re taking photos of your daughter, you’re taking photos of locations where you’ve been and obviously the two of you together, but both of you can’t get in because you are taking the pictures and nobody else is helping you out.

At some point it kind of changes though.

Lee:         It did.  And you know, for a number of years I still took photos of her and then I think it might have been about 2012?  I think that was the year that things changed.  All of a sudden I had a nicer camera, I was learning my way around it and I was becoming more interested in photography and I wanted photos that were not necessarily family snapshots.  I wanted to do a little bit more.

And she was horrified when I asked her to move, thinking she needed to move into the shot because she loved posing for the camera. In fact, I’ve got some photos that I was taking of some Halloween displays and only when I loaded the card into the computer did I see that she’d photo bombed me in every last one of them while I was trying to get my exposure.

I hadn’t seen her, but there was this little face or a little hand sticking up, making faces at me.  But she just didn’t get it.

William:   Alright, but what was it that changed? I mean, as far as your desire between taking snapshots, basically and memories, to what were you trying to achieve?

Lee:         Well, I still wanted the snapshots and the memories, but I wanted somewhere where I could take interesting photos.  You know what it’s like. When you’re at home or nearby home you kind of get bored with what is available to you.  You kind of feel like you’ve run dry.  So when you go somewhere, that’s your opportunity and you feel like, well I’ve got this certain length of time and I’ve got to use it or I lose it.  And you’re trying to squeeze everything in it. It’s sometimes every easy to lose sight of the fact that this is family time and you need to be spending time with the family as well and they do not want to sit around for three hours while you wait for the sunset in the perfect spot.  They might want to earn ten bucks for guarding a tripod leg to stop somebody from kicking it over for a while, but that’s probably about as much as you’re going to get.

William:   But it was kind of like a shock to her.  She’s young.  You have, I guess, almost trained her that the camera was to take photos of her.

Lee:         Yes it was.  Yeah.

William:   And she enjoyed that.

Lee:         She loved that. And actually, I didn’t even – I kind of missed it then.  It was something that happened gradually and I never really got it. I didn’t see why she was getting less and less patient with my photography.  And it was 2014.  We were on vacation and I said to her I want to stop and I want to get a picture and she kind of threw her hands up and went, “Oh!”  And she was really upset.

So I called her back and said, “You used to love it when I took photos. Why don’t you like them anymore?”

And this really hit me hard, but she said to me, “You used to always take photos of me and now you always want me out of the way so you can take photos.”

And I thought, Oh!

William:   Oh and that hurts, doesn’t it?

Lee:         That just took me about six months before that … I still think about it when I go out with my camera.  And she was right!

William:   Exactly.  Of course she was right.  And that kind of brings us to the fact that if you’re going on a family vacation and you’ve got your camera with you, it’s easy to go ahead and capture memories and do nice shots of your family and who you’re with, but when you want to do other things there’s going to be a bit of a balancing act between your family photos, your memories and maybe if you just want to take a shot of something else there.

Lee:         Yeah, and I think also when you are stopping to take a photo, it’s not just – you don’t hold your camera up, take a shot and keep walking.  You’ve got to stop and compose it and maybe you are waiting for somebody to move or whatever the case may be.  You are kind of setting the scene for your photo.  And even if it’s relatively quick, the time that you spend taking it is time that the rest of your family or your group would rather be doing something else.  They were on their way to get their ice cream and now you’re telling them, oh just wait for five minutes.  And it’s never just five minutes because there is something else you see and you’ve got to put some reigns on yourself and say, “OK, I’m going to try this.  If I miss it, I might lose it, but we move.”

William:   Alright, so let’s talk a little bit more in depth about what this is.  Because when I would go on my photography trips as an individual I am out there, usually probably even with a tripod, waiting for something.

Lee:         Yes.

William:   Waiting for the right time of day or evening; waiting for the right moment to come along and sometimes you have to get there early just to claim a spot.  A lot of these photography locations that you see – these wonderful, beautiful, serene photos – what you don’t see is a whole bunch of photographers fighting for space! And there’s nothing serene about that at all and I’ve talked about this before.  You go to Antelope Canyon, you go to the Pyramids of Egypt, you’re going to see a whole slew of tourists and everybody in the way.

And maybe if you’re lucky, if you’ve got a tour guide who can get you access to something you may get a better shot than someone else had. But for the most part you’ve got a limited amount of time, but it has to be a specific time sometimes, to get the shot that you’re really after.

And if that interferes with dinner time; if that interferes with another activity for the people in your family or group, what do you do?

Lee:         Well there are things that you can do and I always did try and work around it.  Generally, I mean I’m highlighting extreme examples here, they were extreme enough that they made me think and they are things I won’t forget.

But for example, we would want a nice spot to sit down and watch the fireworks. She would want a nice view as well.  I wanted a place that was where I could get good photos and less chance of the tripod being bumped so we probably were waiting a little bit longer than we would have, had we just wanted to watch the show.

So I would plan ahead and we would go and get her some snacks or I’d have something – she loves drawing.  So I would have her art set or I’d bring something with her, I’d get something for her to do and we would just kind of sit and hang out.  And I tried to use the time waiting doing something we were going to do anyway, like eating dinner (we would go and get a take-out and take it and sit down and enjoy it while we were waiting) and just spend the time together talking to each other.

Let the other person or let the kids tell you what’s important to them or what they are enjoying.  Just make it some family time.  There are ways that you can work this in and make it worthwhile.

I think it is actually easier with kids sometimes than it is with adults.

William:   You think so?

Lee:         I do.  I’m talking about people not interested in photography.  I mean you and I go somewhere, we understand that we need to wait and we will sit and hang out together.  You go and grab a friend who is not into photography and they are going to be bored out of their mind.

William:   Yeah, you’re absolutely right and if they have got no interest in photography and they are not expecting – I don’t know if they are expecting you to have a camera or not – if they are a good enough friend that you are going to go on vacation with them or even just a day trip with them, they should probably understand and maybe it’s something you need to discuss ahead of time.  Say look, I do need to or want to spend a certain amount of time, maybe this block of time, where I’m going to go off and take some photos.

Lee:         Yeah, you really need to be clear about that because you do not assume that somebody who is not into photography understands how much waiting and setting up time is involved in getting some of the photos.

And they are not all like that.  But there are certain things, like sunsets, fireworks, waiting for a show or something and there are times where you are going to do a lot of waiting.

And also times where you are going to be up and down and you can’t stay in one spot because you’re trying to get the shot.  There are some kinds of photos where you are going to be on the move.

William:   That’s true.  And you know something else to keep in mind is if you’re someplace where maybe somebody can go off and do an activity on their own and then come back and say hey, did you get your photos? That works out nicely.

But if it’s something where both of you have to be together – so in other words if you’re paddling in a canoe down a river ….

Lee:         Yeah, that’s a bit inconvenient!

William:   Yeah, you want both people paddling and if you’re stopping someplace saying, OK I’ve got to be here for like two hours to wait for the sunset and they are just slapping mosquitoes on their arms, they are not going to be very happy about that.

Lee:         Yes, I think whether it’s adults or kids or if it’s a family vacation, the best thing is to sit down and talk about it in the beginning.  We all have things that are important to us.  So for me it might be photography, for daughter it might be some kinds of activities and dessert some place she wants to go; for you it may be something else.  But you have to make sure that you cater to everybody’s interests.  Everyone is going to have to make some sacrifices and everybody is going to get something that they like.

You’ve just got to discipline yourself and find the balance.  It’s easier said than done, but you can find something that is good enough that everybody is happy.

William:   I think that will work in some places.  Like you said, the most important thing is to discuss it in advance so it’s not a surprise to somebody that you are going to want to spend this time.  Also you can hear their concerns in advance.  Like well you can’t spend too much time doing that because, you know, in the case of a child, they are going to be tied to you. It’s not like they can necessarily go off and explore a strange city by themselves.

Lee:         And you don’t want to split the family up all the time.  Here and there sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it just works better.  Especially if you have kids with different age ranges.

I mean, for some parents that is a reality at times where you have to go and cater to their different needs and interests and then merge together again later.  But you don’t want to spend half your vacation where you are doing one thing and the others are doing something else.  That is not family time.

William:   Alright, speaking of family time, one of the things that, if you’re traveling with a family, you’re going to have a lot of meals out.  But that is also one of your best opportunities for capturing some memories and doing a little bit of food photography.

Lee:         Yes.

William:   And Lee loves to do her food photography!

Lee:         I do!  And I’ve also had to learn that …. I mean you’re into photography so you appreciate it.  Tové is actually very good about it. But there are times when everybody’s food arrives at the table and I’m whipping your plates away from you and telling you to move things off the table, move that and rearranging stuff and nobody gets to eat until I have my photos.  And I’ve had to learn to sometimes just let it go.

William:   It depends on why we are going someplace.  We have another website. It’s called Orlando Local and we wanted to do some reviews of local restaurants.  I mean there was the Hard Rock Café in Orlando.  We’ve done some other restaurants as well there and we needed to get photos of the food to show in it.

It was, for all intents and purposes, a business trip as much as a family meal out.

Lee:         Yes.

William:   I expected that we would be taking photos and you were there in some of these places with your DSLR, standing up on the booth.

Lee:         I know.  I’ve got no shame.

William:   You’re trying to shoot down and get your photo.  And you’re as quick as you can be about it, but you are also thoughtful.  You are rearranging things so you’ve got a background and you don’t have something ugly in the way and that is what it takes to get the shot that you can use inside of an article for a review.

Lee:         Yes, because you’re going to get people’s butts walking by and somebody’s dirty napkins and stuff if you don’t pay attention to what’s in the frame.

William:   But no matter what you say in advance, your young teenage daughter is going to be thinking, there is food in front of me.  Why can’t I eat it?

Lee:         Yes.  Not just kids. I mean adults as well.

Sometimes people with you are just not in the mood.  They are hungry, they are tired and they want to eat.  And I think you have to be sensitive to what is going on at the time.  And only you can figure that out.

William:   That’s true and it’s like I said, if you tell them in advance that this is why we are going there, I think it is much more understandable.  If you just pull it out on them while you are out to eat and they weren’t expecting you to take photos, then it’s kind of like, alright I really want to eat that french fry.

Lee:         I know.  I mean I do this mostly when we go out for our family meals. I take them with my iPhone and I always take them so I’ve got the shots just in case I ever want them.  And I use some of them on my Instagram account, and I think some have gone onto the Orlando Local one as well.

William:   They have.

Lee:         But they really are just iPhone shots so it’s not like I’m setting things up with a tripod and lighting or anything.  But even just with the simple phone, it takes time and I am sometimes spending it and realizing that I’m messing people around.

William:   Well you’re always conscious of it, but the question is, do you give yourself a certain amount of time and say OK, I’ve done this long enough.  Even if I didn’t get the shot that I want, I need to just put the camera away and let everybody enjoy.

Lee:         Yes you do.  The other thing is that not all food is going to look great in a photo.  Sometimes you look at a plate of food and you know it’s going to be delicious, but it’s just not going to make a great shot.  Maybe it’s …

William:   Fajitas.

Lee:         Well, yeah those! I mean I just could not get that.  I think it was the steam as well.

William:   It’s the steam.

Lee:         Yeah, it just made it impossible to take a photo, so I stopped bothering to try.

William:   I think Fajitas look great on video.  You know, it’s like you see the server coming out and presenting everything steaming and sizzling and it looks great. It’s an interesting meal when it comes out and it’s presented before you.

But you take a still photo of Fajitas, you get none of the sizzle, the steam gets in the way of the food and it just doesn’t come up with a good shot, even if you’ve got colorful peppers and things in there.  Most of it is brown. It’s just not really an interesting photos.

Lee:         And my clam chowder.  I love a good clam chowder, but it is just the most boring photo you can imagine.  I mean it’s all one color with some dots in it.

William: Yeah, so basically when you’re going off and doing food photography, those are memories that you might have from a vacation and you want to capture the food because you’re going to have some interesting meals.  You’re probably going to have things that you don’t typically have at home.  They are part of your trip, but there has got to be, again, a bit of a balance between either your family or whoever you’re traveling with who just wants to eat versus the memories.

Lee:         Yeah.

William:   OK, let’s take this in another direction now.  You’re going on some travel.  You said you are a city girl.

Lee:         Yes.

William:   If you’re going to go visit a city and you’re on vacation with your family, what is it that you are looking for?

Lee:         Lots of lights.  Night time lights, I like big buildings and I like big sky lines like all the tall skyscrapers and things.

William:   See those are the things that if I’m going to go out and shoot a city like that, I’ve done walk throughs, I’ve done a little bit of street photography and I swear that I’m not good at it, but if I want to go out and shoot a city I’m going to go out with a tripod. I want to go set up someplace, I’m going to think about my composition and I’m going to set up someplace and I’m going to wait for just the right moment.

Lee:         Well, yeah you do.

William:   And that sounds boring for a group or a family that is out traveling on vacation.

Lee:         Well I guess it is, but I think that city vacations are not typical family vacations.

William:   You know, I think it depends upon the family.  There are some that are certainly going to enjoy trips to New York and there are people that are going to enjoy trips to Disney World or Las Vegas.  There are different things here.  There is different architecture and things to do in all of those places and for me, my travel photography – I do more travel photography at home in the Orlando area than I do traveling around to see things.

I think most of the travel photography that you see in magazines or advertisements was shot by someone who lives there because they know the best time and best places to go to and they can go there over and over and over again until they get the really killer shot.

Lee:         That’s right.  And it’s more accessible as well because you know sometimes there is good weather or good lighting or good fog, or whatever it is.  And you can just get out and head out there when you see it.

William:   And timing is an incredible thing because you don’t necessarily know what you’re going to get.  Even if you’re going at the right time of year.  I brought this up before, you know the first time that Walt Disney World decided that it was going to stay open 24 hours.  I and a bunch of my friends went out there and we were going to get the sunrise shot. And fog socked in the whole thing.

Florida is not a place that really has fog. I mean it just doesn’t happen.

Lee:         It just doesn’t stay.

William:   And if it’s here, it’s like gone as soon as a puff of air comes along.  It’s gone.

And this was nothing like that.  This was just thick.

Lee:         Yeah, I know. And it was such a pretty photo. I know, you were disappointed, but it was a really pretty photo.

William:   I got shots that I would not have gotten any other time.  I had no expectation whatsoever of the weather I was going to get.

And it’s the same thing when you go someplace else.  You know, the weather could be clear and maybe you were really after storms.  I mean imagine if you are a storm chaser and you go out and say, man that is a pretty blue sky!

Lee:         Yeah!

William:   It kind of really ruins what you wanted.

Lee:         Exactly.

William:   You can plan weather to a certain extent.  Snow is not going to happen to you usually in July in most places.  Sometimes you might go out there in winter expecting this nice beautiful snow scene and nothing is there. It’s not wet, it’s not white.  It’s just perfectly pathetic.

Lee:         That happens.  You book a ski holiday and … no snow.

William:   The only exception I can think of is Utah. There is not a time that I’ve gone to Utah that it did not snow.

Lee:         Didn’t you always go with a motorcycle?

William:   I did and I rode the motorcycle through the blizzard down to Las Vegas.   It wasn’t snowing in Las Vegas, but every inch of Utah was under snow.

Lee:         If you went with a car it probably wouldn’t snow.

William:   Yeah, but I am not sure that I’m going back to Utah again.  I’m certainly not taking a motorcycle in Utah again.

Lee:         Yeah I remember those stories!

William:   All I’m saying is that the expectation that you have and the reality of what you get may not be the same thing.  So there has got to be a certain amount of balance for that, too.  Because if you’re out with your family and a group, they may not necessarily care what the weather is like because they can go do whatever the activities are.  So long as it’s not horrible weather, it doesn’t matter if it’s a cloudy sky or clear sky or whatever.  They can still go off and ride horseback or ride a rollercoaster; whatever it’s going to be.  But for the photographer, if you’re out there looking for this particular shot and you don’t get it.  What do you do?  Do you look for other opportunities or do you just pack it up and say, you know what?  I’ll spend the day with my family and this just didn’t work out on this trip.

Lee:         That tends to be what I’ve done.  There are times where you fight it up to a point and then you think, I’m ruining my own day here.  I’m not going to get the photo so I’m not going to throw the family time away as well.

I think just keeping that somewhere in your mind helps.

William:   Alright, here’s the last question I wanted to ask about this and it’s something that we’ve not done, but it may be that some other people might do this.  Do you go on a family vacation with the intention and knowledge there is going to be some part of that trip where you are going to leave your family and go off and do your own photography while they do something without you?

Lee:         I know of people who have arranged this with their family.  The family understands and appreciates that there is somebody who is into photography and they don’t share the interest and they accommodate it.  They make the concession.

William:   Well you know what? I think if it’s a family that loves and cares for each other, they understand that you are someone who enjoys photography, you don’t want to drag them into something they are not going to enjoy and they want to allow you to have your passion for the photography going on.

I think that’s a wonderful thing to do.  But there has got to be a limit of it. Because if you’re going on a family vacation there is only so much time that you can really spend doing photography.  You can’t really go on a family vacation and never see your family except for when you go to bed at night.

Lee:         That’s true. But you know, not all photographers are wanting to take the typical tourist shots.  Some people really do just want what we commonly refer to as snapshots of the family.

If you take snapshots of your family, you are the photographer. That doesn’t make you any less of a photographer.  So if your family likes having their photo taken, that is not going to be a problem.

William:   No it’s not.  And I think that is actually probably a good way to bring your family into understanding what your photography is all about.  If you make them look good in their photos that they can go off and share with their other friends, then they are going to have a lot more respect, I think, for your photography and allow you a few moments to go off and take some that maybe don’t have them in.

Lee:         Yes, especially kids and teens.  You have to ask them what they want, because they can be very sensitive about how they look and how they feel and they go through their phases.  So find out what they want. Find out what makes them feel good and how they think they look good and do the very best you can for them and go back and offer to redo it. Once they see that you are interested in them as a person, sometimes those awkward teens are a little bit more accommodating.

William:   Yeah it is kind of nice when you actually get a moment and you realize that the teen is a person that cares.

Lee:         It’s not that bad.

William:   No, it’s certainly not at all.

Thank you for listening to the Photo Flunky Show.  We hope you enjoyed this episode.  If you’ve got some opinions and advice of your own, why don’t you let us know?  Head over to and leave a comment with your own advice on travel photography while on vacation, particularly with your family and friends and so forth.

While you are there you can get a free transcript of the show and of course you can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music and Stitcher Radio.  Thank you very much.  We appreciate you and we hope to hear again from you next week.

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