Vacation Never Ends: Making Travel Photo Albums
on September 24, 2019
That tropical waterfall that made you wonder if you’d found Eden. The perfect little café that felt like home by the end of your stay. You standing up on that darn wakeboard and actually riding it after a dozen faceplants into the water (much to the amusement of the rest of your family). These, and countless other moments like them, are what make vacations not only a blast, but also meaningful family bonding time that adds beloved shared episodes to family lore.
When vacation time is over, these memories don’t have to fade. A travel photo album is the perfect way to keep the good vibes flowing and share them with friends and family. Science even says it’s a good idea. Researchers at the University of Southampton in England say nostalgia for enjoyable times like vacations can bring about feelings of calm, zap stress, and ward off loneliness. What better way to relive nostalgia-inducing moments like vacations than through a vacation memory book?
Of course, to maximize the joy you and your friends and family get from your travel photo book, you’ll want to fill it with quality pictures and organize it so those shots tell a great story. Not all of your vacation photos have to be compositional masterpieces worthy of being published in National Geographic (the awkward vacation-fail photo has its place), but a little forethought in capturing the scenery and the people within it goes a long way toward making a cherished travel photo book that captures your trip’s essence. Taking better travel photos isn’t just for advanced shutterbugs and doesn’t require any special technical know-how.
So as you’re mulling travel photo album ideas, consider these photography and visual storytelling tips.
- Keep your camera handy. It may be comically simple advice, but you can’t capture the joy of your kids burying Dad up to his head in the sand, or that inconceivably stunning sunset, if you don’t have your camera with you. Be sure your smartphone battery is fully charged each day so you’re ready to capture great moments when they arise—and consider bringing a portable charger along if you’ll be out all day.
- Document the journey. Going on a long road trip? Take photos of packing up the car and the trip odometer at zero. A photo of your flight number and destination city at the airport boarding gate may seem mundane on its own, but it builds anticipation for what’s to come. Capturing these scene-setting markers throughout your journey helps your travel photos tell a good story. Creating that feeling is part of what a printed photo book like Chatbooks can do—you’re literally turning through the chapters of your vacation.
- Do some research. You can certainly just wing it when it comes to vacation photos and shoot wherever and whenever it strikes your fancy. But if you want to get a few extra-impressive family portraits or shots to wow your friends and family, look up your destination on Instagram and Pinterest and see where, when, and how others have captured amazing images. You’ll probably find a cool shot angle or location you didn’t know about.
- Balance scenery and people shots. When it comes time to craft your adventure photo album, you’ll want to revel in the landscape but also recall what it was like for you and your family to be in that landscape. Beyond your family, take portraits of other significant characters who play a part in your trip—e.g., your tour guide or the funny waiter who cracked you up.
- Write captions. You might think you’ll remember that hilarious waiter—but in five years, you might need a memory jog about why that dude with an oversized bow tie is in your family photo. Include text pages in your vacation memory book to add context to scenes that might make you draw a blank down the line.
- Capture the little things. Take photos of the food during a memorable meal, the street sign of the street on which you’re staying. Look for details that capture the local culture, like a colorful food stall or even a billboard that caught your family’s attention.
- Be spontaneous. You’re on vacation, so don’t get stressed about trying to capture the raw materials of some ideal vacation memory book. Not every photo of your family has to be perfectly posed. Candid, off-the-cuff shots of them in action just enjoying themselves naturally are equally valuable.
- Cast a wide net. Your travel photo album doesn’t need to be limited to pictures taken by the family’s usual grand pooh-bah of photography. You never know who in your posse will strike photographic gold, after all. When you get home, filter through everyone’s photos to find the gems that’ll bring the most joyful memories.