Last month we drove 1,793 miles round-trip from Los Angeles, California to Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a family reunion.

We allowed two days for driving to Colorado and wondered if 424 miles was too aggressive when Eloise asked after thirty minutes, “are we there yet?” I reached into the surprise bag, and pulled out the iPad in hopes of covering 200 miles while cartoons streamed in the backseat.

“They’re not working, mom” she replied.

It turns out both the iPad and me have limited memory storage. Zut!

Shot on iPhone6 @callieandchef #scottsummersfamilyreunion

In that moment we unplugged  technology and switched on the summer of ’77 road trip. We played travel bingo and I Spy, listened to read-along books, tried to defeat Simon, worked through activity books, and kept sugar levels high with empty calorie snacks.

It was perfect. In fact, it was more enjoyable not having the iPad to distract Eloise. We talked more, observed more and, in turn, created more memories.

I was the main photographer for the reunion.  I was thrilled to put my skills to practice and felt confident shooting the reunion thanks to my online course with Clickin Moms. I hired a 24-70mm 2.8 lens from Samy’s Camera on the suggestion of Clickin Mom Pro and lifestyle photographer, Lacey Meyers. The lens was the perfect suggestion for family portraits, and for capturing little moments without intruding on the scene.

The ages of the children ranged from 10 months- 10 years.  As such, I needed a lens that could keep up with my ever moving subjects. The lens was fast and the large aperture was great for drawing focus on my subjects. While we were grateful for the sunny days in Colorado, I had to be mindful of not blowing out the background with the larger aperture. The family reunion served as a great learning curve and catered to my love of lifestyle photography. 

callieandchef.ohsummer.openspace

Shot on iPhone6 @callieandchef #scottsummersfamilyreunion

Summer holidays are great for practicing and perfecting your photography skills. If you have an upcoming reunion or late summer vacation, here are a few tips for capturing it all:

  1. If you, like me, have an entry level or older DSLR camera base, you need a great lens in order to capture the best SOOC (Straight out of Camera) images. Look for local camera stores or accredited online stores that hire equipment.
  2. My go to lens is a 50mm 1.4, but for traveling, I prefer a lens with a focal range as it allows greater flexibility in composing the ever changing scenery and lighting.
  3. Pick up the lens a few days before the start of vacation to allow time to practice and familiarize yourself with the piece.
  4. Buy a new camera card to use for the event.
  5. Get creative with composition, but do not forget to take individual and group portraits.
  6. Use your phone’s camera for spontaneous captures for Instagram or Twitter. Create a custom hashtag to categorize your holiday snaps (ex: #scottsummersfamilyreunion)

Below are some photos I captured during our reunion weekend.

Wishing you and your families a happy and fun-filled end of summer!