How to Photograph Your Own Family on Summer Vacation and Keep Your Things Safe at the Beach

A girl in an orange inner tube chases a ball in the lake water during her family's documentary photo session with Paula Gerein Photography.
A girl in an orange inner tube chases a ball in the lake water during her family's documentary photo session with Paula Gerein Photography.
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How to Photograph Your Own Family on Summer Vacation and Keep Your Things Safe at the Beach

Summer vacation is the perfect time to capture beautiful memories with your family. Whether you’re at the beach, hiking in the mountains, or exploring a new city, there are countless opportunities to snap photos that you’ll cherish for years to come. However, photographing your family while also keeping your belongings safe, especially at the beach, can be challenging.

 

This blog post will provide you with practical tips for taking great photos of your own family while also keeping your items secure during your summer adventures.

 

Summary:

Introduction: The Joy of Summer Vacation Photos

 

Summer vacations are filled with special moments and adventures. From sandy beach days to mountain hikes, these experiences are perfect for creating lasting memories. Taking photos of these moments allows you to relive them and share them with loved ones. However, balancing the need to capture these memories with the practicalities of keeping your things safe can be tricky, especially at the beach. Here’s how to do both effectively.

  1. Choosing the Right Equipment

 

The first step to taking great vacation photos is choosing the right equipment. You don’t need professional gear to capture beautiful images—often, your smartphone or a simple point-and-shoot camera will do the trick.

 

  • Smartphones: Modern smartphones have excellent cameras with various settings and modes to enhance your photos. They are also convenient and easy to use and many newer models are waterproof.
  • Compact Cameras: If you prefer a dedicated camera, compact cameras are lightweight and easy to carry. Many offer advanced features without the bulk of a DSLR.
  • Action Cameras: For adventurous activities, consider an action camera like a GoPro. These are durable, waterproof, and perfect for capturing high-energy moments.
  1. Capturing Natural Moments

 

The best vacation photos are often the candid ones. Aim to capture natural interactions and genuine expressions rather than posed shots.

 

  • Be Patient: Wait for natural moments of joy, like laughter or a child’s expression of wonder.
  • Stay Ready: Keep your camera handy so you can quickly snap photos as moments happen.
  • Interact: Engage with your family while taking photos to help them feel relaxed and natural.
boy splashes running into lake water - from an Edmonton Family Photographer
  1. Making the Most of Golden Hour

 

Golden hour—the period shortly after sunrise and before sunset—offers the best natural lighting for photography. The light is soft, warm, and flattering, making it ideal for capturing beautiful images.

 

  • Early Mornings and Late Afternoons: Plan your photo sessions during these times for the best lighting.
  • Sunset Silhouettes: Use the setting sun to create stunning silhouettes of your family against the horizon.
  • Play with Light: Experiment with backlighting and shadows to add depth and drama to your photos.
  1. Incorporating Fun Activities

 

Photos that capture your family engaged in fun activities are more dynamic and interesting. These images tell a story and highlight the joy of your vacation.

 

  • Beach Games: Capture the excitement of building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or chasing waves.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Document hikes, bike rides, or nature walks. Action shots of your family exploring new places add variety to your photo collection.
  • Local Experiences: Photograph your family trying local foods, participating in cultural activities, or exploring markets and landmarks.
Dads play with their kids in the lake water during their extended family documentary photo session with Paula Gerein Photography.
  1. Tips for Keeping Your Things Safe at the Beach

 

Keeping your belongings safe while enjoying the beach is crucial. Here are some practical tips to ensure your valuables are secure:

 

  • Waterproof Bags: Invest in a good-quality waterproof bag to protect your electronics from sand and water.
  • Safety in Numbers: If you’re with a group, take turns watching over your belongings while others swim or play.
  • Conceal Valuables: Use hidden compartments in your beach bag or bring Ziploc bags where you can stash your valuables like keys, wallets, and phones and bury in the sand underneath your towel. Remember to pin the Ziploc to your towel so you don’t forget about it!
  1. Using Creative Angles and Perspectives

 

To make your vacation photos stand out, experiment with different angles and perspectives. This adds interest and variety to your images.

 

  • Low Angles: Get down to the ground level to capture a child’s perspective or the details of a sandy beach.
  • High Angles: Shoot from above to include more of the landscape and create a sense of scale.
  • Close-Ups: Focus on small details, like a child’s sandy toes or the texture of a seashell, to add depth to your photo collection.
An older couple at a lake goof around together at the water's edge as the man splashes his wife. During their extended family documentary photo session with Paula Gerein.
  1. iPhone Photography Tips for Beginners

 

If you’re using an iPhone to capture your vacation photos, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your device:

 

  • Use Grid Lines: Turn on the grid lines in your camera settings to help with composition. The rule of thirds can make your photos more balanced and interesting.
  • Tap to Focus: Tap on the screen where you want to focus. This helps ensure that your subject is sharp and clear.
  • Adjust Exposure: After tapping to focus, you can slide your finger up or down to adjust the exposure. This is useful for brightening or darkening your photos as needed.
  • Use HDR Mode: High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode captures more detail in bright and dark areas. This is great for landscape shots or high-contrast scenes.
  • Burst Mode: Use burst mode to capture a series of photos in quick succession. This is perfect for action shots or when you want to choose the best image from a sequence.
  • Portrait Mode: If you have an iPhone with portrait mode, use it to create a blurred background effect. This can make your subject stand out and give your photos a professional look.
  • Clean the Lens: It’s easy to forget, but a clean lens makes a big difference. Wipe your lens regularly to avoid smudges and blurry photos.
  1. Editing and Sharing Your Photos

 

After your vacation, take some time to edit and share your photos. Editing can enhance your images, bringing out the best in each shot.

 

  • Simple Edits: Use basic editing tools to adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation. Crop and straighten your photos to improve composition.
  • Filter Fun: Experiment with filters to add a unique look to your photos. Just be careful not to overdo it—sometimes less is more.
  • Sharing Memories: Create a digital album or a slideshow to share with family and friends. You can also print your favourite photos to create a vacation scrapbook.

Conclusion: Enjoy and Capture the Moment

 

Photographing your family on summer vacation is a wonderful way to preserve memories and share your adventures. By choosing the right equipment, capturing natural moments, and incorporating fun activities, you can create beautiful and meaningful photos. Don’t forget to keep your belongings safe, especially at the beach, so you can focus on enjoying your time together.

 

By following these tips and embracing the spontaneity of documentary photography, you’ll create a collection of images that truly reflect the love and connection within your family. Enjoy your summer adventures and happy photographing!

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Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.

 

© Paula Gerein Photography 2024

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Capture Your Family’s Camping Adventure: Why You Should Document Your Outdoor Escapades

mother and son roast hotdogs over a campfire next to the North Saskatchewan River
mother and son roast hotdogs over a campfire next to the North Saskatchewan River
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Capture Your Family’s Camping Adventure: Why You Should Document Your Outdoor Escapades

Introduction: Embrace the Adventure

 

There’s something magical about camping trips. The smell of pine trees, the sound of crackling campfires, and the joy of disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of daily life. As a kid, my favourite summer memories were those two weeks spent camping with my extended family. Now, I want to help other families capture those same cherished moments.

 

Yes, I will meet you at your campsite, camera in hand, ready to document your wild (and possibly muddy) adventures.

  1. The Magic of Family Camping Trips

 

Camping trips are the perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and quality family time. Here’s why they’re so special:

 

  • Nature’s Playground: Kids can explore, play, and learn about nature. It’s like having a giant, interactive classroom where the lessons are unforgettable.
  • Unplugged Time: With no Wi-Fi or screens to distract you, it’s all about real connections and conversations.
  • Family Bonding: Sharing a tent, cooking over a fire, and telling stories under the stars bring families closer together.

 

One summer, my cousins and I decided to build a fort out of fallen branches. It was a rickety masterpiece that provided hours of entertainment and sparked our imaginations. Moments like these are what make camping trips so unforgettable.

A mom brushes her daughter's teeth as they sit outside next to the campfire during their "Day in the Camping Life" family photo session with Paula Gerein Photography.
  1. Why Document Your Camping Adventures?

 

Sure, you could snap a few photos on your phone, but having a professional documentary photographer capture your camping trip takes it to the next level.

 

  • Real Moments: A documentary photographer captures the candid, unposed moments that truly reflect your family’s dynamic.
  • High-Quality Memories: Professional photos ensure that your memories are preserved in high quality, perfect for printing and displaying.
  • Relive the Fun: Years from now, you can look back at these photos and relive the joy, laughter, and even the mishaps (because those make the best stories).

 

Imagine having a beautifully captured photo of your kids roasting marshmallows, their faces illuminated by the campfire’s glow. Or a snapshot of your family hiking together, surrounded by stunning scenery. These are the moments that deserve to be documented in all their glory.

  1. What to Expect from a Camping Photo Session

 

Wondering what a camping photo session might look like? Here’s the lowdown:

 

  • Arrival at the Campsite: I’ll meet you at your campsite, ready to blend in with the wilderness (and your family).
  • Candid Shots: I’ll capture your family in action—whether you’re setting up tents, hiking, fishing, or roasting marshmallows.
  • Natural Light: The beauty of outdoor photography is the natural light, which makes everything look magical (even the dirt under your nails).

 

A typical session might start with me photographing the excitement of arrival: kids jumping out of the car, parents setting up tents, and everyone getting ready for a fun-filled adventure. As the day progresses, I’ll capture moments of play, exploration, and relaxation, culminating in evening shots around the campfire.

  1. Tips for a Memorable Camping Photo Session

 

To make the most of your camping photo session, here are a few tips:

 

  • Be Yourselves: The best photos come from natural interactions. Forget the camera and just enjoy your time together.
  • Dress Comfortably: Wear clothes that are suitable for camping. Comfort is key, and it’s all about capturing the real you.
  • Plan Activities: Have a few activities planned, like hiking, fishing, or a campfire sing-along. These make for great photo opportunities.
  • Relax: Don’t stress about getting the perfect shot. The goal is to capture genuine moments.
dad swinging hammock with laughing daughters inside - from an Edmonton Family Photographer
  1. Capturing the Candid Moments

 

The heart of documentary photography lies in capturing the candid, unscripted moments. Here’s why these moments matter:

 

  • Authenticity: Candid photos show the true essence of your family, without forced smiles or awkward poses.
  • Emotional Depth: These photos capture the emotions of the moment—joy, surprise, contentment, and everything in between.
  • Storytelling: Each candid shot tells a part of your family’s story, creating a rich narrative of your camping adventure.

 

Think about the laughter as someone tells a funny story around the campfire, the look of concentration on a child’s face as they try to catch a fish, or the peacefulness of a family hike. These are the moments that define your camping trip and make it memorable.

  1. Preserving the Legacy: Photos to Treasure Forever

 

These photos aren’t just for you—they’re for future generations. Here’s how you can preserve and share your family’s camping memories:

 

  • Photo Albums: Create a photo album or scrapbook to tell the story of your camping trips year after year.
  • Wall Art: Turn your favourite shots into wall art to display at home, reminding you of the great outdoors every day.
  • Digital Archives: Keep a digital archive of your photos to easily share with family and friends, and to ensure they’re preserved for the future.

 

A well-made photo album can become a family heirloom, passed down through generations. Imagine your grandchildren flipping through the pages, seeing the adventures you had and the love that was shared on those camping trips.

Boy roasts bannock over a backyard campfire - from an Edmonton Family Photographer

Conclusion: Book Your Camping Photo Session Today

 

Camping trips are filled with moments of joy, adventure, and connection. By documenting these trips, you’re creating a lasting legacy that your family will cherish forever.

 

So, pack your bags, grab your tent, and let’s make some memories. And remember, I’m not afraid of a little adventure—let’s capture your family’s camping trip together.

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Paula Gerein Photography

Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.

 

© Paula Gerein Photography 2024

All rights reserved.

Teens: Why You Should Absolutely Let Your Parents Document Your Last Summer at Home

Two teen siblings and their mom play Just Dance on the Switch during their documentary family photo session with Paula Gerein
Two teen siblings and their mom play Just Dance on the Switch during their documentary family photo session with Paula Gerein
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Teens: Why You Should Absolutely Let Your Parents Document Your Last Summer at Home (With Plenty of Eye-Rolling Allowed)

Hey there, future university student! Ready to escape to your new life of freedom and independence? Not so fast. Before you pack your bags and say goodbye to home-cooked meals, there’s one last thing on your parents’ wish list: a documentary family photo session.

 

Yes, I can hear your groans from here, but bear with me. Trust me, it’s not as painful as it sounds. In fact, it might even be (dare I say) fun.

 

Summary:

Introduction: The Ultimate Teen Groan-Worthy Request

 

Let’s face it: the idea of spending a couple of hours posing for family photos is probably not high on your to-do list. You’ve got friends to hang out with, TikToks to make, and a whole world to conquer once you leave for university. But hear me out—this photo session isn’t just for your parents. It’s a chance to capture this crazy, transitional time in your life. Plus, if you play along, you might even score some major brownie points (and maybe an extra bit of cash for your dorm room setup).

  1. The Value of Documentary Family Photography (For Real)

 

Okay, so your parents are obsessed with documenting everything. But documentary family photography isn’t about cheesy poses and fake smiles. It’s about capturing real, unscripted moments. You know, the ones where you’re actually being yourself.

 

  • Authenticity: These photos show the real you, not the staged version. Think of it as your own personal reality show, minus the drama (hopefully).
  • Storytelling: Each photo tells a story—your story. It’s like a visual diary of your last year at home.
  • Timelessness: Unlike your latest Snapchat streak, these photos will last forever. And who knows, you might even appreciate them someday (shocking, I know).
Teen siblings sit together - from an Edmonton Family Photographer
  1. Capturing the Transition: From Teen to Young Adult (Cringe)

 

You’re at a pivotal point in your life. You’re on the brink of adulthood, ready to explore the world and live your best life. Capturing this transition is a way to celebrate how far you’ve come and where you’re headed.

 

  • Personal Growth: These photos will show how you’ve evolved from that awkward pre-teen phase to the adult you are now.
  • Family Bonds: Even though you won’t admit it, your family has played a huge role in shaping who you are. These photos highlight that.
  • Everyday Moments: Documenting your daily life—whether it’s arguing over the remote or bonding over a favourite TV show—captures what makes your family unique.
  1. Celebrating Family Dynamics (Yes, Including the Embarrassing Bits)

 

Family dynamics are… interesting, to say the least. A documentary photo session captures all the quirks, the inside jokes, and yes, even the embarrassing moments that make your family yours.

 

  • Parental Relationships: Showcasing the (sometimes annoying) but always supportive relationship with your parents.
  • Sibling Bonds: Whether it’s play-fighting or conspiring against your parents, these moments are gold.
  • Family Traditions: From Taco Tuesdays to Saturday morning pancake breakfasts, these traditions are part of your family’s fabric.
A day laughs with his teen children at the table during their documentary family photo session
  1. Why a Photo Session Before University Actually Matters

 

Before you roll your eyes into oblivion, think about this: a photo session before university is a way to mark a significant change in your life. It’s like a time capsule that you’ll appreciate more than you think.

 

  • Preserving Memories: These photos will be a nostalgic trip down memory lane when you’re knee-deep in exams and ramen noodles.
  • Celebrating Achievements: You’ve worked hard to get here. These photos celebrate your journey and accomplishments.
  • Strengthening Bonds: Believe it or not, this session can be a bonding experience (and a great opportunity for some last-minute parental advice).
  1. Photos Your Parents Will Treasure (Because, Duh, They Love You)

 

Your parents are your biggest fans. They want to remember this time just as much as you do (or will eventually). Here are some photos they’ll absolutely treasure:

 

  • Candid Family Moments: Natural interactions, whether it’s a family dinner or a backyard barbecue, capture the essence of your family life.
  • Milestone Celebrations: Graduation, sports achievements, or even just hanging out together—these are the moments that matter.
  • Emotional Portraits: Close-up shots that capture the real emotions of this transitional time. Yes, even the tearful goodbyes.
  1. Photos You’ll Secretly Love (But Never Admit)

 

You might groan now, but trust me, there are photos you’ll actually appreciate:

 

  • Personal Interests: Whether it’s playing guitar, coding, or painting, photos of you doing what you love are pretty cool.
  • Friendship Moments: Get your friends in on the action. These photos will be great memories of your high school squad.
  • Casual Portraits: Relaxed, natural shots that show off your personality. Think more “chill” and less “forced smile.”
A teen girl sits on the couch looking out the window. Portrait created during her family's documentary photo session with Paula Gerein Photography.
  1. Tips for Surviving a Documentary Family Photo Session

 

To get through this with minimal eye-rolling, here are some survival tips:

 

  • Be Natural: Just be yourself. No need for awkward poses or forced smiles.
  • Choose Fun Locations: Pick places you actually like—your favourite park, your room, or even the local café.
  • Include Activities: Do things you enjoy together. It’ll make the session feel less like a chore and more like a fun family day.
  • Relax and Have Fun: Seriously, just go with the flow. You might even (gasp) enjoy it.

Conclusion: Cherish the Journey (Even If It’s Cringe)

 

This journey from childhood to adulthood is full of moments worth capturing. A documentary family photo session might sound cringe now, but it’s a beautiful way to remember this time. Plus, think of all the future Instagram #TBTs you’ll have.

 

Book the Darn Session Already

 

Ready to get this over with? Schedule your documentary family photo session today and give your parents the gift of memories (and a little peace of mind).

 

Let’s create some awesome, authentic photos that you’ll actually like looking back on.

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Boy makes a silly face - from an Edmonton Family Photographer

Paula Gerein Photography

Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.

 

© Paula Gerein Photography 2024

All rights reserved.

Why You Should Hire a Documentary Family Photographer for Your Family Reunion

Adult sisters laugh together at their campsite during their extended family summer photo shoot with Paula Gerein Photography
Adult sisters laugh together at their campsite during their extended family summer photo shoot with Paula Gerein Photography
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Why You Should Hire a Documentary Family Photographer for Your Family Reunion

Summer is the season of family reunions. These gatherings provide rare opportunities to create lasting memories with extended family, especially with the adults who seldom get together. Hiring a documentary family photographer to capture these moments is a great idea, and here’s why.

 

Summary:

 

Introduction: The Joy of Family Reunions

    1. Capturing Rare Gatherings
    2. The Benefits of a Documentary Approach
    3. Creating Lasting Memories with Candid Shots
    4. The Importance of Photographing All Generations
    5. Tips for a Successful Family Reunion Photo Session
    6. Preserving Family Traditions
    7. Building a Family Archive
    8. Celebrating Milestones
    9. The Power of Printed Photos

Conclusion: Embrace the Opportunity

Book Your Family Reunion Session Today

Introduction: The Joy of Family Reunions

 

There’s something uniquely joyful about family reunions. It’s the time when aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents come together, often after long periods apart. These moments are filled with laughter, stories, and sometimes a little chaos, but they are priceless.

 

Documenting these gatherings through photography ensures that all family members can exist in photographs together.

  1. Capturing Rare Gatherings

 

Family reunions are rare events where extended family members gather in one place. Given everyone’s busy schedules, it’s not often that large families can come together. This rarity makes reunions special and worth capturing.

 

  • Cherished Moments: These events provide a unique opportunity to photograph the entire family, creating a visual record of your family’s history.
  • Photographing Adults: Often, family photos focus on children, but reunions are a great time to capture images of all the adults together. These photos become treasured keepsakes, especially as the years go by.
An extended family play at the beach and grandparents stand at the water's edge watching. During their extended family photo session with Paula Gerein
  1. The Benefits of a Documentary Approach

 

Hiring a documentary family photographer means you get candid, unposed shots that truly reflect the essence of your family reunion.

 

  • Natural Interactions: A documentary approach captures genuine interactions and emotions, showcasing the love and connection within your family.
  • Less Pressure: Without the need to pose or smile on command, everyone can relax and enjoy the moment, resulting in more authentic photos.
  • Storytelling: These photos tell a story, preserving the unique dynamics and relationships that make your family special.
  1. Creating Lasting Memories with Candid Shots

 

The beauty of documentary photography is in its ability to capture the spontaneity and joy of the moment. Here’s how candid shots can create lasting memories:

 

  • Unscripted Moments: From kids playing in the yard to grandparents sharing stories, these unplanned moments are often the most memorable.
  • Expressions and Emotions: Genuine smiles, laughter, and even tears are captured in their purest form, creating powerful and emotional images.
  • Activity-Based Photos: Documenting activities like cooking together, playing games, or simply chatting by the fire adds context and richness to your family’s story.
  1. The Importance of Photographing All Generations

 

Family reunions bring together multiple generations, from great-grandparents to the youngest members of the family. Capturing these generational connections is incredibly valuable.

 

  • Heritage and Legacy: Photos of grandparents with their grandchildren create a visual legacy that will be cherished for generations.
  • Family Dynamics: Documenting the interactions between different generations highlights the unique roles and relationships within the family.
  • Treasured Memories: As time goes by, these photos become even more precious, serving as a reminder of the love and bond shared across generations.
  1. Tips for a Successful Family Reunion Photo Session

 

To make the most of your family reunion photo session, here are some tips:

 

  • Plan Ahead: You and I should coordinate in advance to discuss the schedule and key moments and people that might be extra special for you to have captured.
  • Keep it Natural: Encourage your family to relax and be themselves. The best photos often come from unplanned moments and natural interactions.
  • Focus on Activities: Plan activities that everyone can enjoy, such as a family game, a barbecue, or a nature walk. These provide great opportunities for candid photos.
  • Embrace Imperfections: Don’t stress about everything being perfect. The beauty of documentary photography is in capturing the real, imperfect moments that make your family unique.
A toddler releases his hold on Grandpa's hand at the water's edge of a lake. During their extended family photo session with Paula Gerein.
  1. Preserving Family Traditions

 

Family reunions are often steeped in traditions, whether it’s a special recipe passed down through generations, an annual game of soccer, or a group sing-along around the campfire. Capturing these traditions through photography helps preserve them for future generations.

 

  • Cultural Heritage: Photos of traditional activities and customs help keep your family’s cultural heritage alive. They serve as a visual record that can be shared with younger family members.
  • Storytelling: These photos become a part of your family’s narrative, telling the story of your unique traditions and the values that have been passed down through the years.
  • Legacy: By documenting these moments, you create a legacy that future generations can look back on and feel connected to their roots.
  1. Building a Family Archive

 

A family reunion photo session can be the start of a beautiful family archive—a collection of images that tell the story of your family over the years.

 

  • Yearly Albums: Consider creating yearly photo albums that compile the best moments from each reunion. These albums become treasured keepsakes that can be passed down through the generations.
  • Digital Archives: In addition to physical albums, maintaining a digital archive ensures that your photos are safely stored and easily accessible. This way, you can share them with family members near and far.
Cousins laugh and play together with water toys at their campsite during their extended family documentary photo session with Paula Gerein
  1. Celebrating Milestones

Family reunions are the perfect time to celebrate milestones, whether it’s a grandparent’s 80th birthday, a couple’s 50th anniversary, or a child’s graduation. A documentary family photographer can help you capture these special moments.

 

  • Milestone Moments: Documenting milestone celebrations during reunions adds a special touch to your family photos. These moments of celebration are a testament to your family’s journey and growth.
  • Group Photos: Capture group photos that include everyone present at the reunion. These images become cherished keepsakes, especially as family members age and new ones join.
  • Personal Messages: Encourage family members to share personal messages or memories during the reunion. These can be captured in photos or videos, adding a heartfelt element to your family archive.
  1. The Power of Printed Photos

 

In today’s digital age, printed photos have a special significance. There’s something timeless and tangible about holding a photo in your hands, and printed images can become cherished heirlooms.

 

  • Photo Books: Create photo books from your reunion session. These books can be given as gifts to family members or kept as a personal keepsake.
  • Wall Art: Turn your favourite reunion photos into wall art. Displaying these images in your home serves as a daily reminder of the love and connection within your family.
  • Photo Gifts: Consider creating photo gifts such as calendars, mugs, or canvases. These make thoughtful gifts that family members will treasure.

Conclusion: Embrace the Opportunity

 

Family reunions are rare and precious occasions that deserve to be documented. Hiring a documentary family photographer ensures that you capture the true essence of these gatherings—the joy, the laughter, and the love shared among family members. Don’t miss the opportunity to create lasting memories that you and your family will treasure for years to come.

 

Book Your Family Reunion Session Today

 

Ready to capture the magic of your next family reunion? Don’t wait! Book your documentary family photo session today and let’s create beautiful, lasting memories together. Celebrate your family’s unique story and preserve these cherished moments for future generations.

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Boy makes a silly face - from an Edmonton Family Photographer

Paula Gerein Photography

Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.

 

© Paula Gerein Photography 2024

All rights reserved.

Using Photography to Entertain Your Kids While Camping and Exploring the Outdoors

A mother and her son take photos together on a walk outside during their documentary family photo session.
A mother and her son take photos together on a walk outside during their documentary family photo session.
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Using Photography to Entertain Your Kids While Camping and Exploring the Outdoors

Camping and outdoor adventures offer the perfect opportunity to bond with your family and immerse yourselves in nature. But keeping kids entertained, from kindergarteners to teenagers, can sometimes be a challenge. Using photography as a tool not only engages them creatively but also helps them develop a love for capturing and appreciating the beauty around them.

 

In this blog post, we’ll explore fun and educational photography activities that will keep your kids entertained during your camping trips and outdoor adventures.

 

Summary:

Introduction: The Magic of Outdoor Photography

 

There’s something magical about the great outdoors that captivates both kids and adults alike. Introducing your kids to photography while camping or exploring nature can be a fantastic way to keep them entertained and engaged. It encourages them to look closer at their surroundings, sparks their creativity, and can even turn into a lifelong hobby. Plus, it’s a great way to get them off their screens and focused on something other than asking, “Are we there yet?” every five minutes.

 

Here are some fun photography activities tailored for kids of all ages to enjoy on your next outdoor adventure.

  1. Photo Treasure Hunt: Adventure for All Ages

 

A photo treasure hunt is a fun and interactive way to get your kids excited about photography. It’s simple to set up and can be tailored to suit different age groups.

 

For Younger Kids:

  • Simple Lists: Create a list of items that are easy to find, such as a flower, a bird, a tree, or a rock. Bonus points if they can find a rock that looks like a famous person.
  • Visual Aids: Use pictures alongside words for kids who are not yet reading. Because we all know they’ll just ask you what it says anyway.
  • Group Activity: Pair them up with an older sibling or an adult to help them find and photograph the items. Sibling rivalry can work in your favour here.

 

For Older Kids and Teens:

  • Detailed Lists: Challenge them with more specific items, such as a butterfly on a flower, a unique leaf, or an animal track. They’ll enjoy the challenge, and you’ll enjoy a moment of peace.
  • Themes: Introduce themes like “shapes in nature” or “colours of the forest” to make it more challenging. Let’s see who can find the most “interesting” shade of green.
  • Competition: Turn it into a friendly competition with prizes for the most creative or the highest number of items found. Nothing like a little healthy competition to keep the peace.
A child looks over a list of a camping scavenger hunt. Photo by Shirley Sullivan.
Photo by Shirley Sullivan
  1. Nature Photo Challenges for Young Explorers

 

Nature photo challenges are great for encouraging young kids to explore and appreciate their surroundings. These challenges can be both educational and entertaining.

 

Colour Hunt:

  • Objective: Find and photograph items of different colours in nature.
  • Learning Aspect: Teaches kids about colours and encourages them to look closely at their surroundings. Also, it might just keep them occupied long enough for you to enjoy your coffee.

Shape Hunt:

  • Objective: Search for and photograph natural objects that resemble specific shapes, like circles, squares, or triangles.
  • Learning Aspect: Helps with understanding shapes and develops observational skills. And gives you a break from the endless “What shape is this?” questions.

Texture Hunt:

  • Objective: Capture photos of various textures, such as smooth stones, rough tree bark, or soft moss.
  • Learning Aspect: Introduces kids to different textures and enhances their tactile learning. Plus, you get to hear them argue about whether that moss is “really” soft.
  1. Storytelling Through Photos for Creative Minds

 

For kids who love storytelling and creativity, using photography to create stories can be a captivating activity.

 

Photo Stories:

  • Objective: Take a series of photos that tell a story. It could be a day in the life of a squirrel, the journey of a leaf down a stream, or an adventure with their favourite toy.
  • How-To: Encourage them to plan their story, decide on the “characters,” and think about the beginning, middle, and end. Just be prepared for some truly epic (and occasionally bizarre) tales.

Photo Journals:

  • Objective: Create a photo journal of the camping trip, documenting each day’s activities and discoveries.
  • How-To: Provide them with a notebook where they can print and paste their photos, adding captions or short descriptions. This way, you’ll have a beautiful record of your trip and a handy reminder of what you actually did.
A teen girl sits on the grass with soccer balls experimenting with photography.
  1. Teen Photography Projects: From Landscapes to Wildlife

 

Teenagers might enjoy more sophisticated photography projects that challenge their skills and creativity.

 

Landscape Photography:

  • Objective: Capture the beauty of the natural environment, focusing on landscapes and scenery.
  • Tips: Teach them about the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing to enhance their composition skills. Just don’t be surprised if they start critiquing your own photos.

Wildlife Photography:

  • Objective: Photograph animals in their natural habitat.
  • Tips: Encourage patience and quiet observation. Discuss the importance of respecting wildlife and keeping a safe distance. Also, remind them that sneaking up on a bear for the perfect shot is a terrible idea.

Macro Photography:

  • Objective: Explore the tiny details in nature, like dew drops on a spider web or the intricate patterns on a leaf.
  • Tips: Use a macro lens or the macro mode on a camera or smartphone to capture close-up details. Teens will love the “cool factor” of seeing nature up close.
  1. Sharing and Displaying Their Work

 

After your outdoor adventure, take time to share and celebrate your kids’ photographic achievements.

 

  • Family Photo Night: Host a photo night where everyone can showcase their favourite shots from the trip. This can double as a much-needed night in.
  • Photo Albums: Help kids create a photo album or scrapbook of their best pictures. These albums can become cherished keepsakes.
  • Online Sharing: Share their work on social media or family group chats, giving them a platform to receive positive feedback. Just be ready for the inevitable flood of “likes” from doting grandparents.
  • Photo Gifts: Turn their best photos into personalized gifts, like calendars, mugs, or wall art. Perfect for those moments when you have no idea what to get grandma for her birthday.
Photo by Shirley Sullivan

Conclusion: Capture the Adventure

 

Using photography to entertain your kids while camping or on outdoor adventures is a win-win situation. It keeps them engaged, helps them develop new skills, and provides you with a collection of beautiful memories.

 

From photo treasure hunts to storytelling projects, there are endless ways to make photography fun for kids of all ages. Plus, it might just buy you a few minutes of peace and quiet.

 

Enjoy your time in nature and happy photographing!

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Paula Gerein Photography

Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.

 

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