Julia’s top tips for your holiday photos
Whenever I shoot for anything – whether it’s a family portrait shoot or my own holiday photos – I think of how it would look in an album (because as we all know I’m a fan of doing something with your images and not letting them sit on a hard drive).
On a recent trip to the Lux Belle Mare in Mauritius, I put together this guide for our Family Album clients, aimed not at improving your travel snaps, but rather at helping you to take photographs that capture the beating heart of your holiday.
In holiday photos, fun always wins.
What do I mean by this? Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what the light is like or what your composition is. You’re just capturing the fun of what’s happening at the moment. These photos have just as much place in your album as anything else.
But nice light is great, too.
If beautifully lit portraits are your goal, then your best bet in sunny climes is to take them just after sunrise or before sunset. During the hours of bright sun, you can photograph in shadow to achieve an even light. This image was taken at lunchtime under the cover of palm trees.
Photography tip: when photographing under a tree, make sure the sun is behind your subject so that the light is unblemished and you don’t get dappling from the leaves.
Mix it up.
I’ve heard people lament that they take too many landscape photographs when travelling. Or, conversely, too many people photographs. It’s important to take both. Photographs of your family enjoying themselves are great, but take landscapes to set the scene and create a more complete picture of your holiday. Mix close-ups with shots from further away to create variety and tell the story of your experiences.
Remember the details.
Whenever I look at a frangipani flower for the rest of my life, I will think of Baby picking them up off all the laundry baskets at our hotel in Mauritius and giving them to me. “For you, mummy!” To remember this, I’ve taken a picture of a frangipani bloom on its own because looking at it will unlock these memories for me.
Photography tip: take pictures of local souvenir stands and postcard racks. They make great memory aides, but also look colourful in holiday photos & albums.
Get up for at least one sunrise.
As a traditionally late riser, I didn’t want to do it, but I knew that I’d regret it if I didn’t see at least one sunrise in Mauritius, especially as it happened right outside our hotel room door.
Photography tip: if your camera has a sunrise or sunset mode, great – use it. If not, try taking your exposure for the picture from a darker piece of sky (i.e. not the bright sunny bit). See if there is anything you can put in the foreground to add interest.
Use your sunglasses as a polariser.
Have you ever wondered how pro photographers get deep blue skies in their images? We use a filter that we can attach to our lens called a polariser. What most people don’t realise is that they have a polariser with them on holiday, too. Try putting your sunglass lens in from of your camera lens to see what kinds of interesting effects you can achieve.
Local signage makes a great background.
Signs or old peeling walls can make great backgrounds for photographs. I loved this Cuban-style food truck, paired with a classic Rolls Royce at Lux Belle Mare. I bet everyone who stays there has at least one photo of it. And “El Jefe” means the Boss in Spanish, which I think is pretty apt for this little madam.
Photograph their firsts.
Chances are, your children (and you) will probably be enjoying many novel experiences on holiday. In Mauritius, Baby had her first massage in a spa (loved it) and her first blessing in a Hindu temple (also loved it).
Consider your clothing choices.
What you or your children are wearing can make a big difference to the outcome of a photograph. I had a lot of fun thinking about the outfits I wanted Baby to wear on holiday, investing in fun and lively prints and accessories that really worked with her personality.
Remember to be in the photographs.
Our holiday photos & albums often look like James and Baby have been on a really great trip together, but mummy is nowhere in sight. For this reason, we hired a Mauritian photographer to take portraits of all three of us. Now Baby will have photographic evidence that I was there, too.
Now we will just have to wait for the sunshine!