The Nightmare Of Holiday Photography

Can mixing a holiday and photography ever work?

So you’re off somewhere amazing for your holiday, with friends or family who probably are not photographers – or at least not as serious as you are. Can you really make this work?

 

The dream holiday photography… 

For the die-hard-photographer who wants photography perfection, you really need to be up before dawn to capture the sunrise, in the best possible location which you have carefully researched!

Then again in the evening, you need a couple of hours to get into position for the sunset.

During the day it’ll be too hot and the light too intense to capture anything worthwhile, so you go and shoot interiors – cathedrals, museums and the like.

 

The reality

Your group will want to experience the culture, including drinks and food in the evening. Your family/friends will want to be sitting down to eat and drink well before the sun sets, maybe hitting the bar at 6PM and eating by 8PM. 

Also, you are on holiday so want a nice lie-in to sleep off the food and drink the night before. You will be in bed for sunrise and well after, and you definitely watch the 9PM sunset from a chair in a restaurant.

When you DO get chance to do photography, you’ll be in crowds of tourists so have no chance of using a tripod, the light will be intense so you’ll have black shadows and burned out highlights. The heat will be 30 degrees and you will be sweating carting your kit around, it’ll wear you out and you’ll get knackered!

 

The 2 Solutions…

1 – Do a dedicated photography holiday.

This may seem obvious, but rather than try to do the traditional trip, and squeeze in photography, plan something specifically for photography.

Go with photographers who will get up with you for sunrise, and hang around till sunset.

You can go at a snail’s pace, plan locations and routes meticulously over a pint and google maps months in advance! 

2 – Go off season – i.e. Winter

If you’re doing something warm like Seville or Rome, these places will still be warm in December.

The crowds will be smaller, so you’re not falling over people!

The sun will rise closer to 8 AM than 4 AM so you can nip out at a fairly sensible time for a sunrise if you like.

The sun starts to go down around 4 PM, so you can capture that perfect sunset then be back in the hotel getting ready for food by 6 PM. 

Also, during the day the sun is lower in winter, so you get longer shadows and “better light” – it’ll mean your shots just look more interesting than the same time in summer.

 

So can you successfully mix photography and a holiday? 

Well yes, of course, take the camera with you – you’ll definitely see hundreds of things to shoot and record memories. You can also “nip off” from a restaurant for 10 minutes when the sun is setting if you like – there’s always a way. 

But if you really do want to capture images to exhibit or sell, piggybacking your photography on to a normal trip abroad will always be a struggle. I’d do it in winter when it’s miserable in the UK – get a cheap flight to the Med and enjoy those short days in the sun and long evenings. That way you can move faster without overheating, visit more sites, get better light and be in the pub for 6PM every night to get the best of both worlds!

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