Are you planning a summer vacation this year?  No matter if you’re headed to your favorite beach, mountain cabin, exotic foreign locale or even just staying home for some R&R try to take some time to focus on your photography and get out and shoot. Vacations give us a chance to center ourselves while we unwind and decompress. During these down-times we can refocus our creative energy towards the art that we love. With work concerns put in the background for a while you can more easily focus on your creative vision.

When I’m on vacation I always try to find some time to get away by myself to do some shooting. For example, this year I am going to the shore in Rehoboth Delaware for a week with my family. And although it’s been a hectic year and I’m excited to spend some time with my family and decompress, I’m also looking forward to going out and finding some beauty to photograph on my own terms.

Details on the door of a Medieval church in Toledo, Spain.

Any time with family and friends is valuable and it can feel selfish to take time for yourself while you are on vacation with them. But try to remember that vacation is partially about recharging yourself and finding the inner calm that can allude us when we’re in the middle of the daily grind. Taking some time to recharge while away with my family will make me a better husband and father for them.

If I say that I’m going to go off for a couple hours to do some shooting and I don’t come back until the end of the day I know my 10 year old will let me have it. So, I try to do some pre-planning of my vacation shooting even before we leave for the trip. This way I can maximize the benefits while minimizing my time away from the family. Over this series of posts I will break down how I go about planning and packing for my vaction photography as well as share some strategies for shooting and post-processing.

A Lilly I came across in an amazing little public garden in Madrid, Spain.

Remember to shoot what you want to shoot on vacation. For me, a lot of my professional work falls into the category of commercial photography so I make sure I’m shooting anything but that when I’m on vacation. Plan to shoot things that you enjoy or things that you want to see hanging on your own walls, not your clients. And don’t forget to get in close for a few shots!

If getting away from the family is not an option for you try getting the kids involved, taking some different types of photos with them, stuff you have not done in the past Perhaps your toddlers hands in the surf as they explore the ocean. Or your spouses eyes with the sunlight dancing on the water in the background. Your teens hands grabbing a rock as they climb in the mountains. And don’t forget about all that glorious vacation food! Food makes for some great close-up photography.

What do you shoot on vacation and why? Do you have a favorite location or shot that you took while you were away from it all? Please share with us in the comments below.