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The Great American Camping Trip

Reflect On Nature. Use reflective surfaces to bring visual interest to your images. From bodies of water to sunglass lens
es, capturing your surroundings by incorporating these reflections can be both fun and rewarding.

Make Monochromatic Magic. We often look at colorful landscapes and process them accordingly, but desaturation can bring an entirely unique and inspiring beauty to almost any landscape shot. Channel and challenge your inner Ansel Adams.

Delight In The Details. When taking in vast vistas, we sometimes miss the small stuff. Don’t miss out on the amazing intricacies Mother Nature has created—seed pods, leaves, seashells, acorns, etc. Beauty can be found in the tiniest of natural elements.

Document Like A Documentarian. Candid moments of daily life when you’re camping can yield interesting and narrative stories of the trip. Sometimes we’re so captivated by our surroundings, we forget that the life of our family is unfolding right in front of our lenses.

Freeze Fleeting Moments. When traveling with kids, in particular, it’s a wonderful practice to capture the many moments that can help to tell their camping story. Observing your kids throughout your trip and snapping small snippets of their experience means you’ll have those pictures to savor each time you revisit your camping photo album(s). It’s also a wonderful way to compare shots from year to year as your kids grow up. Time flies, and childhood seems to go even faster, as your photos will attest.

Embrace Nostalgia. Although it may err on the side of being a little too "snapshot," those traditional family shots in front of the state park sign, for example, are still classics! We likely all have at least one of those shots of us tucked away in the archives of our family photos. Many of those signs, in particular, are the same ones from our own childhood pictures, which amps the nostalgia factor way up. What’s not to love?

Seek Out Symbols. Depending on where you’re camping, the "quintessential elements" of your trip may vary. Seek out and shoot the kinds of iconic symbols that will visually translate not only the fact that you’re camping, but where you’re camping. Whether it’s a fishing pole, a giant sequoia or a meandering dirt road, be sure to capture some of them either on their own or with your fellow campers included. These kinds of shots help give your travel photography visual interest and context.

Embrace The Evolution. When you’re camping, weather can change on a dime. Blue skies can become ominous with heavy clouds as quickly as you can release your shutter, and the ever-changing environment can offer a vast range of photo ops. You may be looking at the same mountain skyline for days, but depending on the time of day and the weather of the moment, the view will constantly evolve (take note of how quickly clouds travel). No two shots will ever be the same. Use this as inspiration as you shoot your surrounding landscape.

Photo Tips For Road Trip

1 | Use reflective surfaces (like windows, mirrors and even sunglasses) to your creative advantage. The reflections may be difficult to predict, but that’s what makes it fun and can bring added visual interest to your end shot.

2 | Dirty windshields provide interesting texture to some shots, similar to the grain of high-speed film.

3 | Including parts of the car in the frame of the shot offers the context that can help tell the story of your travels.

4 | For a different approach, excluding or cropping out any evidence of the car (rolling down your window to avoid unwanted reflections, for example) can make it seem like you’re not in the car at all.

5 | Shoot from a stoplight or stop sign if you don’t want any chance of movement in your shot.

6 | Slow down your shutter when shooting from the passenger seat to achieve a blurred effect. This makes for a great visual and gives the shot a true feel of moving along the open road.

7 | Roll down your windows and shoot selfies or portraits of your cotravelers. There’s nothing more free-feeling and photographically fun than wind in your hair.

8 | Capture street signs and other miscellaneous signage to document the landmarks along the way.

Tracey Clark is the founder of Shutter Sisters, a collaborative photo blog and thriving community of female photo enthusiasts. Learn more about Tracey and her work at

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