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Tips for Taking Spring Break Pictures

Whether you are a high school senior who wants to capture selfies and pictures of friends or a busy momma who wants to capture her beautiful family, spring break is fast approaching and I imagine you want to capture these moments with friends and family!  It doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t even have to carry your heavy big girl camera with you – you can still capture great memories with your phone – as my girlies would say, easy peasy lemon squeezy.  🙂  I am here to give you a few tips.

Lighting is everything

It really is.  A difference in lighting can take us from scary to beautiful.  I know this may be hard to believe but it makes all the difference.

If you are outside and it is a cloudy day, you don’t need to worry about harsh shadows on everyone’s face so you are good to go!

soft diffused light on cloudy day

Example of a cloudy day – the lighting is softer and more even. (This one was taken with my big girl camera but most here were with my iphone.)

Midday sun is a different story, so you need to watch out for harsh shadows on everyone’s face or for squinting.  Try to find some open shade (think under a tree or beside a building) so that the lighting is softer and more even.

Sunrise Plus Sunset Equals Beautiful Light

Ever wonder why on location portrait photographers want to schedule sessions first thing in the morning or right before sunset?  It is because of the beautiful light.  Get outside first thing in the morning or before sunset in the evening when the sun is low in the sky.  This is gorgeous light and great for both portraits and landscape photography.  For portraits, make sure the sun is behind your subject and meter for your subject.


Not sure how to meter?  Essentially this means that you want your camera to evaluate the correct lighting for your family, not the bright sun behind them.  If it reads the light from the sun behind them, your family is going to be dark.  When it reads the correct lighting for your family, the background will be really bright, which is fine because you want to capture your beautiful family and make sure they are correctly exposed.  If you like to get fancy and change settings on your camera, you could choose spot metering which means that the camera will meter the light just on your subject, which is helpful.

Spot metering – her face is exposed nicely and the light behind her is really bright, which is fine. I love how it highlights her hair.

bad lighting on her face

The light behind her isn’t as bright but her face is too dark. This is what happens when we don’t spot meter for our subject’s face and there is bright light behind them. Your subject is too dark. 🙁

Midday Sun Creates Harsh Shadows

If you are at the beach (lucky you!) you can capture everyone in midday sun by having everyone put on their sunglasses!  Or, you capture your littles in the water playing when they are facing the other direction so you don’t get the harsh lighting on their faces.  If possible, try to position everyone so that the sun is slightly behind them and there is softer lighting on their face.  This is not always possible so if you can’t then just take the picture.  It is about capturing your memories, not about the perfect photo.

What camera is best?

The one you have with you.  😉  If you don’t want to worry about carrying around your DSLR, then don’t!  Vacations are about relaxing and enjoying time with loved ones so do just that and simply have your phone ready to capture the moment.  Although I am not an iphone camera expert, I love the ease of capturing our family with my phone.  We always have our phones and I don’t worry about getting sand on it – I worry about sand getting on (in) my DSLR.  There are many iphone camera apps that facilitate the process even more!  Why not check out the following:  ProCam 3, Hydra – Amazing Photography, Hipstamatic Camera, Camera+, NightCap Pro (low light), VSCO, and Snapseed are just a few!

Most Important Tip

The most important thing to remember is not to stress out about capturing perfect pictures.  Keep the photography tips in the back of your mind for when the opportunity arises, but spring breaks are about relaxing and enjoying time with loved ones.  Whatever your plans, I hope you have a wonderful break!


harsh midday sun and shadows in pictures

The sun is shining right in her face so she is squinting and you can see dark shadows on her face. (iphone)

Love this one – you get all the bright colors of the beach with the beautiful midday sun. There is a shadow on her face because she is looking down, but it doesn’t bother me because we are not focusing on her face. (iphone capture)

You can see her dark shadow but it doesn’t bother me much here because the shadows are not on her face since she is looking away from the camera. (Taken with my iphone)

Another iphone picture with the bright midday sun but since they are looking away, you don’t have the dark shadows and you still get a neat picture of your littles.

The sun is bright but when the kiddos are underwater you don’t have to worry about the dark midday shadows!




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