Photographer’s guide to being included in your vacation photos

A few years ago, I was showing my mom photos of a vacation Jimmy and I took, when she smartly asked if only Jimmy went on the trip. I looked at the photos and saw Jimmy at the beach, playing mini golf, posing in front of a funny sign, driving and eating dinner. There was one big thing missing from our photos — me!

In 2009, we took an amazing trip out west. We went from San Diego down to the Grand Canyon and about every cool spot in between. We hiked, swam, rock-crawled (is that a verb?) and really loved our time. I thought I wised up on that trip — I packed TWO cameras. Assigned the point and shoot to Jim and kept my SLR. I instructed him to take lots of photos and don’t be afraid to get me in them. The photos from that trip turned out AMAZING! Lanscapes that were breathtaking, Jimmy looked great, I looked fab… But I realized that from our photos, it looked like we had wonderful vacation, just not together. There were only a few photos of the two of us together.

When the two of us traveled down to the Orlando, Florida area to photograph a destination wedding, I decided to approach our photo-taking differently. I wanted to focus on our experiences as well as capture quality self portraits of us in beautiful locations.

I packed a tripod and remote shutter (it mounts on the top of my camera and then I have a wireless button) and used to to get all of the photos you see of the two of us together. Here’s a few things I’ve learned about taking self portraits with the timer (tips, if you may).

1. Always shoot in manual.
2. I put Jimmy in whatever scene it is first and then meter off of his face to decide my settings. I usually fire off a test shot or two to make sure I like how the light is hitting.
3. Then toggle my focus to be on Jimmy. I allow my remote shutter to auto-focus and like that the toggle set helps my photos be sharp.
4. I usually shoot between 4-5.6 aperature to make sure we are both in focus and there is a nice fall off.
5. My composition is based around where I place Jimmy in the frame. I always know where I’ll go stand and how my shot is set up.
6. I hand Jimmy the remote. I get so stiff about posing for photos (I’m not used to being in front of the lens!) So when he’s the one pushing the button, I just smile and act natural with him.
7. Always make sure I check my images before we move on. I picked that location for a reason and I want to make sure that I have one I love before moving on. 🙂

I’ve only had a few of these “sessions” with the two of us and really, they keep getting easier. The key is to be patient and just relax. If you don’t know your camera settings, you’ll probably not be happy with the results, but don’t quit! Keep trying! 🙂 If you don’t have a remote, just try some of these with your 10 second timer (I also do that often)!

I love this series from our first morning at the resort. I really wanted to capture how I felt during moments and not just events and a million palm trees. My non-coffee drinking husband surprised me on our balcony the first morning with two cups of coffee and some of the best conversation. We arrived at the resort late the night before, so we took a walk around exploring before heading to breakfast. The top left photo is my favorite. My sweet husband looks so handsome and this photo captures his coy grin he flashes me right before he tells me that he loves me.

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Something you may not know is that my husband and I really enjoy shooting pool. I grew up with a pool table in my house and we’ve spent many years shooting in my parent’s basement (many, many hours with my dear momma). So it was only fitting we shoot at the resort. 🙂

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I swear it rained every time I wanted us to go out with the tripod on the resort. There was a hurricane that came through while we were down there and we went out after a rain storm one afternoon and got this first series.
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florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

Here’s me setting up one of our shots. You can see Jimmy being so funny in front of the camera — not many people get to see this hilarious side of him and I love it!

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florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography
florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography
florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

Here’s a great example of setting the shot, jumping in it and then letting us be ourselves 🙂 Isn’t Jimmy quite the model?

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I love the curve of the bridge here.

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And of course, my sweet husband is so good about grabbing the camera (he’s had lots of lessions from me) and snapping a few photos of me!

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Here’s my favorite he took of me, with a favorite that we went and took together at night on the beach. It was so wonderful to play with light, long exposure and experience the beach at night together for the first time without hotels lighting it up.
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There’s nothing more attractive than my husband with my camera equipment. rawr.
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We also had a little fun with our photos — We tried to take a photo every day of vacation (and did pretty well at it)! These are all just on our balcony at the resort.

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Here’s a few favorites I snapped at the resort:

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florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

Then when we got to Cape Canveral, we went down to Jetty Beach during golden hour and captured some of my favorite photos of us yet! You can see how I set up the shot and then how it unfolded. I’m still in amazement at how wonderful these turned out! Jimmy and I have been together for just shy of 10 years and this trip was such a beautiful reminder of our love and how much this sweet man supports me and my love for photography (of others and of us!).

florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

florida destination wedding photographer, indiana to florida wedding photographer, photographers guide to vacation photos, how to take vacation photos, self portrait series, amy horn photography

 

sara kate // trimble county high school senior session // milton ky photographer

I loved meeting up with Sara Kate on her family’s farm in Milton, Kentucky for her senior portraits. She is graduating from Trimble County High School this week and plans to attend the University of Kentucky. She is such a beautiful, intelligent young lady and will go far with her amazing attitude.

Here are a few of my favorites from our session together:

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