POLL: on family holiday : how much time for photography?

Started Jun 29, 2013 | Polls
RoelHendrickx
RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 25,999
POLL: on family holiday : how much time for photography?
1

When you go on a family holiday (this excludes a holiday that you make on your own or with fellow photographers, specifically for the purpose of photography), what is your attitude towards combining photography and family-time and how much time do you spend on photography?

POLL
Hey dude, it's family time! I don't photograph at all! Time spent: none.
6.2% 4  votes
I photograph only what fits in the timeframe of time spent with spouse and kids : basically just family snapshots and some sights, like any tourist. Occasionally we will pause for a few photos. Time spent: 30 minutes to 1 hour every day.
41.5% 27  votes
The best photo hours are early morning and late evening : I go out on my own before breakfast and after dinner and spend the rest of the time with the family, but I have my camera ready most of the time. However I do not delay the family schedule any further. I work quickly. Time spent only on photography: between 1 and 2 hours every day.
35.4% 23  votes
My family knows that to keep me happy, photoggraphy must be a big part of my holiday. They are used to shopping and sightseeing while I am off on my own for photography, or else they just wait for me to finish. Time spent: between 2 and 4 hours every day.
6.2% 4  votes
Who are we fooling here? Vacations are planned specifically for photography, and the family is just along for the trip. Our itinerary is based completely on my photo desires of places to shoot at dawn and dusk. Time spent: between 4 and 8 hours every day.
10.8% 7  votes
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Art_P
Art_P Veteran Member • Posts: 9,875
Close to the last choice, but
2

I tend to travel alone, or with other like-minded individuals... Not having a family to tow along has the occasional advantage.

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Art P
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Elemental Photography Contributing Member • Posts: 960
Re: Close to the last choice, but

Art_P wrote:

I tend to travel alone, or with other like-minded individuals...

I'm child-free by choice, and my extended family only rarely goes on vacations together.  As such, I tend to have the freedom to do my own thing on my own schedule.

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Ed B
Ed B Veteran Member • Posts: 9,342
Re: POLL: on family holiday : how much time for photography?
1

Good idea for a poll.

I love photography but, over the years, I've missed seeing some very nice things because I had a camera in front of my face.

Even kid's soccer games, dance recitals, etc. are spent trying to get the "good" shots instead of actually watching the event.

Everything has trade-offs but I've learned that a couple of good pictures are all I really need.

Zindanfel
Zindanfel Veteran Member • Posts: 9,228
Re: POLL: on family holiday : how much time for photography?

Really depends on time plan, place, and who's in the group; for me, all but the last option occur.

Our offspring are grown and have their own families. When we're on an outing with them (usually local daytrips) I try to grab a few candids to supplement family albums, but that's incidental to Together Time. When it's just Wife and I, we are both very patient -- neither is "rushing" the other. Sometimes I make a mental note to revisit something alone if I need substantial time with it.

On getaway vacations there's always a need for some documentary "we were there having a good time" photography, but this must fit in the overall flow of the vacation. That's when early morning and late evening solo shooting is a godsend.

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Zin

RoelHendrickx
OP RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 25,999
Totally on the same page

Zindanfel wrote:

Really depends on time plan, place, and who's in the group; for me, all but the last option occur.

Well, I picked ONE, but I could have picked anything but the first and last.

Our offspring are grown and have their own families.

Totally on the same page with the rest of what you write, except our kids are still on the brink of spreading their wings.  We still holiday together for extended periods (weeks) once a year (or maybe every other year).

When we're on an outing with them (usually local daytrips) I try to grab a few candids to supplement family albums, but that's incidental to Together Time. When it's just Wife and I, we are both very patient -- neither is "rushing" the other. Sometimes I make a mental note to revisit something alone if I need substantial time with it.

that is a good way to work, except when on a clear schedule.  I have to make the most of every location at the time when I am there.

On getaway vacations there's always a need for some documentary "we were there having a good time" photography, but this must fit in the overall flow of the vacation. That's when early morning and late evening solo shooting is a godsend.

I agree. I make shorter nights and longer days in order to fit in solo-time shooting, while the others are still (or already) in bed.  That works perfectly for us.

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Pikme Senior Member • Posts: 2,176
Re: POLL: on family holiday : how much time for photography?

I've often wondered how anyone can do 'photography' on family vacations or any type of family events (birthdays, Christmas, graduation, etc).

I hate when anyone I am spending time with is on their phone constantly, checking facebook or texting, and I can imagine others feel the same way about spending time with me and a camera.  And most people do not like having a camera stuck in their face much, nor do they like to be ordered to pose at every landmark - although I see lots of fathers ordering their kids to do just that.  Some fun vacation for the kids.  Anyway, I dislike photos taken in midday light, while vacations do take place in midday light.

So I might be disappointed at the lost photography occasion, but I would rather have good time with my kids (young adults) than a great photo of anything.  Especially since my wife has died, but I've always felt this way.  Being there is not enough, you have to really BE there for those you love.

I do bring a small camera and I do take snapshots, but don't work at it and don't consider it 'photography' time.  It has become a game, I try to include the kids in the snapshots and they try to include me in their iphone pics.

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Roberto M.

Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 18,672
Re: POLL: on family holiday : how much time for photography?

All of them depending on where we are going and what there is to photograph.

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Chris R

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drusus Contributing Member • Posts: 747
Re: POLL: on family holiday : how much time for photography?

Great topic, Roel! I clicked no. 2, but I also want to add my thoughts behind my answer.

Three years ago I made the most liberating decision in my life as a hobbyist photographer. I decided that what I was interested in was "personal photography". I want to capture memories of my life, and I want my photos to evoke the experience of special moments in my life when I look at them.

Some people call this family photojournalism. The subject matter is what many people shoot as snapshots. The decision was that this would be my photography, and not the snapshots I take when i not doing real photography. I do what I can to improve at taking good photos, to the extent possible, within the constraints of this type of photography.

The constraints are similar to the ones that you raise with regard to vacation photography, except that they apply all the time. I no longer have the time for, nor much interest in, solo photography. So, while on vacation, on daily outings, and in home family life, I want to use my camera when special experiences occur, and I want the photography process to be as unobtrusive as possible to those around me and to me as well, so that I can enjoy those moments. I have not achieved my goal yet, and I am learning to recognize my wife's expression when she tries to hide her frustration with having my camera out too long. But I think about this a lot, and here are some things I try to do or keep in mind. Many of these things help me in taking shots less obtrusively. A lot of it has to do with preparing the photo as much as possible before taking the camera out, and minimizing the time that the camera is in people's faces.

- Camera. One compromise camera (Panasonic GF1), with sensor large enough for near-DSLR quality but small enough that I can take it with me without thinking twice. I don't want to decide "Is this outing going to be a good photo occasion and therefore should I carry the heavy and more obtrusive DSLR?" External controls are a good thing, too, as they let me adjust settings faster than using menus.

- Lens. One lens, fixed normal focal length, most of the time. I want most of my photos to remind me of what I saw. My eyes don't see the perspective of a telephoto or wide angle, and so I don't need those shots. I have a short telephoto for the occasional portrait. The fixed focal length means I have learned its angle of view and I can plan a photo well before I raise the camera, and I don't spend those extra seconds zooming and framing, during which I could not pay attention to those around me.

- Lens, part 2: pancake form factor keeps the camera small and lets me use a leather case to protect the lens without a lens cap (with a UV filter on most of the time). This shaves a second or two from the picture-taking process. The leather case means I can either throw the camera over my shoulder, into the baby's diaper bag, or into my work bag.

- Camera/lens. By having a fixed focal length that I know well, I can do without a viewfinder, because I can do most of my composing by looking at the scene directly. So the camera can be more compact. The LCD is good enough of framing, and makes it easier to choose interesting angles than having the camera on my face (e.g., a child's point of view without having to bend down to the ground). The LCD also minimizes the annoyance of those around me, because I can maintain frequent eye contact instead of disappearing behind a viewfinder. In fact, I often shoot while maintaining eye contact with my subjects, framing only out of the corner of my eye (again, being used to a single focal length helps here). It makes me feel like I am not entirely abandoning the experience in order to take photos.

- Camera settings. Two basic settings cover most situations or require minimal adjustments. ISO 400, shutter speed 80 for S mode (indoors), aperture 2.8 for A mode (outdoors). If I have time, I can fine tune these. If not, I can take the shot and have a good chance it will be ok or recoverable. Oh yeah, shooting in RAW format also helps reduce obtrusiveness: if I can't take the time to optimize exposure at shooting time, I have a greater chance of recovering the photo through post-processing than with JPEGs.

- Shooting rules. The camera goes back after 3-4 shots or after 1 minute, whichever comes first. This is more like the days of film: you see a possible shot and take it. A second or third shot is useful to get avoid accidental bad expressions (blinking, a child looking away). Then I'm done. My family is annoyed more by persistent camera pointing and repetitive shutter clicks than they are by one or two shots at a time. If I put the camera away after a few seconds, the camera won't be there to intrude on our time together. This makes me participate with less distraction and reduces the annoyance of the camera always being there, threatening to be raised and distracting us from what we are enjoying. This rule is new and I am still learning to put it into practice.

- Missed shots. By not changing lenses, or waiting for the light to improve, or walking to different spots to get the best composition, or waiting for the decisive moment, I miss many potential great shots. Who cares. I found that I really don't miss them. I end up with enough photos as it is, that I definitely don't sit at my computer wishing I had taken that shot for which i did not have the right lens. Reduced memory (from the sleep deprivation that only a young baby can bring) helps here.

I recognize that these guidelines are useful only for a very restricted type of shooting. I don't know that I would recommend them to anyone else, because I have developed them to solve my problem with photography being intrusive. It was liberating to realize, though, that good photographs, or at least photos that I enjoy looking at, can be obtained in more than one way, and that limiting your choices does not have to limit your creativity. My experience so far is that the quality of my photos has greatly improved in the past 3 years, mainly in being more mindful of composition, framing, and lighting, and especially in capturing moments. Not necessarily decisive moments, but special enough to me.

If you've made it through this entire post, thanks for reading.

Drusus

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RoelHendrickx
OP RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 25,999
Re: POLL: on family holiday : how much time for photography?

drusus wrote:

Great topic, Roel! I clicked no. 2, but I also want to add my thoughts behind my answer.

Three years ago I made the most liberating decision in my life as a hobbyist photographer. I decided that what I was interested in was "personal photography". I want to capture memories of my life, and I want my photos to evoke the experience of special moments in my life when I look at them.

Some people call this family photojournalism. The subject matter is what many people shoot as snapshots. The decision was that this would be my photography, and not the snapshots I take when i not doing real photography. I do what I can to improve at taking good photos, to the extent possible, within the constraints of this type of photography.

The constraints are similar to the ones that you raise with regard to vacation photography, except that they apply all the time. I no longer have the time for, nor much interest in, solo photography. So, while on vacation, on daily outings, and in home family life, I want to use my camera when special experiences occur, and I want the photography process to be as unobtrusive as possible to those around me and to me as well, so that I can enjoy those moments. I have not achieved my goal yet, and I am learning to recognize my wife's expression when she tries to hide her frustration with having my camera out too long. But I think about this a lot, and here are some things I try to do or keep in mind. Many of these things help me in taking shots less obtrusively. A lot of it has to do with preparing the photo as much as possible before taking the camera out, and minimizing the time that the camera is in people's faces.

- Camera. One compromise camera (Panasonic GF1), with sensor large enough for near-DSLR quality but small enough that I can take it with me without thinking twice. I don't want to decide "Is this outing going to be a good photo occasion and therefore should I carry the heavy and more obtrusive DSLR?" External controls are a good thing, too, as they let me adjust settings faster than using menus.

- Lens. One lens, fixed normal focal length, most of the time. I want most of my photos to remind me of what I saw. My eyes don't see the perspective of a telephoto or wide angle, and so I don't need those shots. I have a short telephoto for the occasional portrait. The fixed focal length means I have learned its angle of view and I can plan a photo well before I raise the camera, and I don't spend those extra seconds zooming and framing, during which I could not pay attention to those around me.

- Lens, part 2: pancake form factor keeps the camera small and lets me use a leather case to protect the lens without a lens cap (with a UV filter on most of the time). This shaves a second or two from the picture-taking process. The leather case means I can either throw the camera over my shoulder, into the baby's diaper bag, or into my work bag.

- Camera/lens. By having a fixed focal length that I know well, I can do without a viewfinder, because I can do most of my composing by looking at the scene directly. So the camera can be more compact. The LCD is good enough of framing, and makes it easier to choose interesting angles than having the camera on my face (e.g., a child's point of view without having to bend down to the ground). The LCD also minimizes the annoyance of those around me, because I can maintain frequent eye contact instead of disappearing behind a viewfinder. In fact, I often shoot while maintaining eye contact with my subjects, framing only out of the corner of my eye (again, being used to a single focal length helps here). It makes me feel like I am not entirely abandoning the experience in order to take photos.

- Camera settings. Two basic settings cover most situations or require minimal adjustments. ISO 400, shutter speed 80 for S mode (indoors), aperture 2.8 for A mode (outdoors). If I have time, I can fine tune these. If not, I can take the shot and have a good chance it will be ok or recoverable. Oh yeah, shooting in RAW format also helps reduce obtrusiveness: if I can't take the time to optimize exposure at shooting time, I have a greater chance of recovering the photo through post-processing than with JPEGs.

- Shooting rules. The camera goes back after 3-4 shots or after 1 minute, whichever comes first. This is more like the days of film: you see a possible shot and take it. A second or third shot is useful to get avoid accidental bad expressions (blinking, a child looking away). Then I'm done. My family is annoyed more by persistent camera pointing and repetitive shutter clicks than they are by one or two shots at a time. If I put the camera away after a few seconds, the camera won't be there to intrude on our time together. This makes me participate with less distraction and reduces the annoyance of the camera always being there, threatening to be raised and distracting us from what we are enjoying. This rule is new and I am still learning to put it into practice.

- Missed shots. By not changing lenses, or waiting for the light to improve, or walking to different spots to get the best composition, or waiting for the decisive moment, I miss many potential great shots. Who cares. I found that I really don't miss them. I end up with enough photos as it is, that I definitely don't sit at my computer wishing I had taken that shot for which i did not have the right lens. Reduced memory (from the sleep deprivation that only a young baby can bring) helps here.

I recognize that these guidelines are useful only for a very restricted type of shooting. I don't know that I would recommend them to anyone else, because I have developed them to solve my problem with photography being intrusive. It was liberating to realize, though, that good photographs, or at least photos that I enjoy looking at, can be obtained in more than one way, and that limiting your choices does not have to limit your creativity. My experience so far is that the quality of my photos has greatly improved in the past 3 years, mainly in being more mindful of composition, framing, and lighting, and especially in capturing moments. Not necessarily decisive moments, but special enough to me.

If you've made it through this entire post, thanks for reading.

I made it through the entire post and enjoyed the read.  Thanks for posting.

Drusus

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Draek
Draek Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: POLL: on family holiday : how much time for photography?

It varies, from #2 to #3; I'd never leave my family alone just to go shooting, but whether I'm willing to wake up earlier just to go out and shoot(*) depends on my reasons for going on vacation: if it's "hey, let's go have some fun" then I probably will (and it's the most common reason, hence my vote), but for those "I really need a break from from work & studies" trips, you need a firearm to get me off bed before 12 PM.

(*) In actuality it's more of a "get up earlier to buy groceries, and maaaaaaaybe take a couple extra shots during the walk" thing thanks to my loving family, though.

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John Miles
John Miles Veteran Member • Posts: 6,919
Re: POLL: on family holiday : how much time for photography?

None of the above. I record the holiday continuously, though photography is rarely the topic of the activity we are doing.

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Pikme Senior Member • Posts: 2,176
Drusus

Thanks fthi posting this.  Lots to think about here.

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Roberto M.

tex Veteran Member • Posts: 7,539
Like a lot of polls, this one...

....asks questions that are difficult to answer and conditional----yet the poll's simplified questions don't allow for any qualification.  So my answer isn't wholly accurate.  I could have answered yes to every question.

So:  if the destination is once in a lifetime, and/or difficult or extremely expensive to get to, and is full of stuff of photographic/artistic/cultural interest to me (and us, in fact....)then my family understands that my time will be divided.  Certainly they'd rather come along than me go by myself to a really cool place. Or have to spend thousands to go back. And I could be set up with my oils and have to spend all day....by comparison photography is light speed.

For just simple stuff, like the beach or skiing, family outings, get togethers, then one or two shots with good gear are usually plenty.  And now i can handle this stuff a lot with my phone.

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tex_andrews
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Acrill
Acrill Veteran Member • Posts: 3,008
Re: Like a lot of polls, this one...

Option #3 for me.

Most shots do take place during normal family time, shots of the kids and tourist sites that we all visit together.

I do get to sneak out during early mornings and maybe some sunsets for more dedicated photography time.

This is fine with me as I lack photographic ambition. Shots of the family and the place we went are the ones I treasure and have a good chance of making it to the family photo album.

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