Stop Stressing About Getting The Perfect Vacation Photo

Vacation is supposed to be about relaxing, exploring a new place, and living in the moment. However, social media has made it so that so much of travel is focused on getting the perfect vacation shot.

I used to stress about getting the perfect shot in front of an amazing monument, but then I realized that that’s bullshit. When I come back from a trip I don’t just want to remember the sites— I want to remember MY experience of them.

So, stop stressing about getting the perfect photo and just live in the moment!

Here’s how to capture perfectly candid travel content that will help you remember the experience, not just the sites:

1. Shoot in burst mode.

Set your camera to continuous shooting mode or just hold down the shutter button on your phone to capture a bunch of photos quickly. This way you can capture more movement and don’t have to focus on getting the pose just right.

2. Take a video.

Have a friend (or a stranger if you’re traveling alone) take a video of you walking at a pretty site or just goofing around. You can put the video in slow-motion to make an aesthetic Reel for Instagram or just screenshot the video to capture candid shots!

3. Remember to capture the in-between moments.

Not every photo has to be in front of a beautiful site. One of my favorite travel memories is laughing with my friends on a train in Ireland but I didn’t have my camera out. I wish I had taken photos of that amazing time to capture our joy!

4. Bring a disposable or film camera.

Not being able to see your photos in the moment will make you less worried about perfecting them. I love bringing a disposable camera on trips to capture candid moments. Bonus: when you get the photos developed you get to relive the trip all over again!

I hope these tips help you relax a little more on your next trip! Check out this post for more tips on how to make your vacation photos pop!

How To Pose In Travel Photos

When you travel to beautiful places, you really have to bring the fire to stand out in photos. If I never have to see the skinny arm pose in front of the Eiffel Tower again, I will have done my job! Here are my favorite poses to make my travel photos pop!

1. The Hop

Hop at a diagonal angle to the camera. Swing your arms like you’re running or hold them in your hair. This pose is great because it adds movement and makes you look like a natural part of the scenery. This is great for busy city streets or crowded areas with a lot of movement.

2. The Walk Away

Face away from the camera and put your weight on your front foot like you’re walking. This pose is great to use in front of beautiful vistas or on symmetrical streets because it brings the viewer into the image. They can imagine themselves standing where you are!

3. The Lean
Lean on a banister or wall and cross one foot over the other. This pose is one of my favorites because of how casual it is. No matter where you are, you look like you belong! This pose is great to use in doorways or on stairs of beautiful buildings.

Comment with which pose you’re going to try during your next trip!

How to Take Stunning Travel Photos

This may sound harsh, but if I see one more person do the skinny arm pose in front of an incredible monument that’s been admired for hundreds of years, I’m going to snap!

You didn’t come all this way and invest so much into seeing the most beautiful locations in the world only to take a boring picture that just sits in your camera roll!

Here are five easy tips to take travel photos you’re truly proud of while still living in the moment and not spending the whole trip chasing the photo!

1. Hit the most crowded locations during off-peak hours.

We’ve all done it—you get an idea in your head about this amazing photo you’re going to take in this incredible location, only to arrive and see a line of people who all had the same idea. Visit the most popular tourist locations early in the morning or on a weekday to make sure you have the time and space to get the shot!

2. Make a mood board.

This is something I’ve started doing before traveling recently and it’s soo helpful! It helps me to plan what I’m going to pack, how I’m going to pose, and possible photo angles so I know exactly what to do when I get to my destination. It greatly reduces my stress about getting great shots. Click here to see the mood board that inspired these photos.

3. Pack clothing that fits the location.

Once you make your mood board, you’ll have a general idea of a color palette and theme. Use this to plan your outfits and pack things that are going to fit in or stand out in your location. For my trip to Maine I mostly chose neutrals, and knits with a few flowy fabrics to capture the ocean breeze.

4. Browse the geotags.

This is a must before going on a trip! See where others are taking pictures around the area and how they’re styling the photos. You can get some inspiration, think about what you would do differently, and even discover some new locations you never would have found otherwise!

5. Edit on the go.

Being able to edit my photos from my phone and post in the moment was a game-changer for me when traveling. My new camera has WiFi that allows me to download photos right to my phone, but in the past I’ve used a dongle like this one to quickly transfer the photos from my memory card to my phone. I then edit my photos in Lightroom Mobile using my presets and post them right to Instagram! Click here to get the preset pack I use for all of my photos!

I hope you found these tips helpful! Where’s your next destination?

How I Dumped My Instagram Husband

When I first started blogging I enlisted the help of my mom and friends to take quick snapshots of my outfits. If I was lucky, I would end up with one in-focus image of myself centered in the frame that I could post on Instagram. When I moved away from home, my boyfriend became my go-to photographer. He had some experience behind a camera so we were able to take more photos and experiment with angles and locations.

However, as I got deeper into blogging and gained experience, I wanted to create more complex concepts for photos and be more intentional about my content. Shoots started to become longer and more complicated and I was more picky about my vision. Soon we found that taking photos detracted from the precious time we got to spend together. I knew I needed to take the photographer/model dynamic out of the relationship in order to focus on being present during our time together. So, I didn’t dump him as my boyfriend, but I did dump him as my Instagram husband.

I found myself in a difficult position: I needed a photographer with the time, skills, and equipment to execute my vision but I didn’t have money to hire a professional.

What I did have was time and a degree in Studio Art.

I had taken photography classes in high school and college so I knew how to wield a camera, but I had never explored self-portraits. I bought cheap a tripod and remote shutter release on Amazon and started following bloggers whose self-portraits I admired (@sorelleamore, @phobymo, and @anouskapb were big inspirations to me).

A lot of my first attempts were blurry or stiff. I spent so much time trying to get the camera to focus properly. To top it all off, I was worried about what people would think of me walking around with my tripod taking pictures of myself in public!

I persevered and slowly honed my skills. I learned that placing an object in the frame while I focus the camera and then standing where that object was will ensure the photo is focused on me. I learned how to pose in ways that mimic motion to create movement in my photos that doesn’t cause blurriness. I photographed in public so much that now I people’s comments and stares just roll off my back.

Now I’m proud of my ability to take photos of myself anywhere and capture dynamic images that showcase my outfit and my personality. It’s so freeing to be able to make my vision a reality and I’m sure my loved ones are grateful that I stopped asking them to take my picture!

Want to learn how to take better selfies? Click the button below to get my free self-portrait guide sent right to your inbox!

The Biggest Photo Editing Mistakes Made by Beginners (and how to avoid them)

Editing is an incredibly important part of digital photography. While you should try to master using composition, lighting, and your camera’s settings to controlthe outcome of the photo, post-editing is also super valuable to your toolkit as a photographer.

When photographing myself, I’m acting as both photographer and model, and I can’t always control every element of the photo. This has made me incredibly comfortable using Lightroom to achieve my desired effect.

When I was just learning to use Lightroom and Photoshop, I made a lot of mistakes that made my photos look amateur, and I wish I had someone to guide me through them. You’re always going to run into bumps along the way, but here are the biggest editing mistakes I wish I had known when I was a beginner:

1. Not editing at all. When I first started taking photos I wouldn’t edit them at all. I thought I was preserving the integrity of the photo, but I was actually just missing out on stylistic opportunities. Post-editing your photos can help you create a mood and develop a cohesive style.

2. Editing too much. After getting over my fear of editing, I went the complete opposite direction. I was using selective color and taking the saturation slider up to the maximum. I thought that intense editing and colors would make my photos more interesting. This is not always the case. Photos can easily become overwhelming if the eye doesn’t know where to land. Focus on enhancing the elements that are already present in your photo, this will keep it from becoming too busy.

3. Not using presets. This one is incredibly important, especially when posting your photos on Instagram. Purchasing or creating your own presets in Lightroom helps to create a cohesive artistic voice. It also helps cut down on editing time and gives you a place to start when editing each photo. If you’re just starting out, I definitely suggest purchasing a preset pack from a photographer you admire. This will give you a great starting point and insight into how they edit their photos. You can always make your own changes later.

I could talk about photography forever! Drop your photography and editing questions in the comments and I’ll tackle them in an upcoming post!

3 Ways To Use a Bed Sheet In Your Photos

If there’s something I want to be known for as a blogger and as an artist, it’s using what I have on hand. I fully believe that art and fashion should be accessible to everyone, and that means you shouldn’t have to keep buying stuff in order to participate. You can have the most high-end camera and the most expensive props, and still take shit photos. It truly is not about what you have, it’s about what you do with it. So, today I’m sharing three things you can do with a simple bed sheet to create fun and interesting photos!

1. Use it as a backdrop! Hang a string (here I tied it to two branches) and affix the sheet using clothespins. Pro tip: if doing this inside you can just tape the sheet directly to the wall!

2. Style it as a skirt. Tie the sheet around your waist and tuck the ends. You may need to fluff and style it to get the look exactly how you like.

3. Let it catch the wind to create movement. Toss the sheet up in the air to create an airy, breezy effect. It may take a few tries to get the shot!

Let me know which photo is your favorite and tag @shea_ish on Instagram if you try any of these so I can share your results!

How To Find Bomb Photoshoot Locations Anywhere

When I moved from Madrid back to my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find any good locations for photoshoots. Cincinnati is pretty, but it’s nothing compared to the ancient monuments and winding streets of Spain. However, I decided to embrace the challenge and use this as an opportunity to find unique photoshoot locations in a suburban setting. It has actually been really fun to explore my area looking for new places to shoot and to get to know my city more intimately. Here are my top tips for finding great photoshoot locations, no matter where you are!

1. Go for a run. Going for runs or walks is my favorite way to get to know an area. You go down paths and see things you never would in a car. This was my favorite way to explore when I was abroad and now it’s my favorite way to find new and interesting photo locations near my home.

2. Check the lighting. Take note of which way the sun shines in this location and where you will place yourself in the space. Make sure to shoot at a time of day when the sun will be facing your subject so your photos don’t end up as a silhouette. This is especially important when shooting against buildings, you don’t want them to be blocking the sun when you go to shoot!

3. Follow location tags. Look at tagged locations in your city. Where are other people are taking photos? Is there a cool landmark or view that you could visit to shoot?

4. Color coordinate. Take note of the colors of the space before you shoot. If it’s against a light background, maybe you want to be wearing dark colors to stand out, or maybe you want to match your background for a striking monochrome moment. Make sure you plan ahead for what you’ll be wearing and, if you’re someone who likes a matching feed, make sure this location fits with your brand color scheme!

5. Keep a note or take reference photos. Keep a running list in your phone or notebook of great locations you notice in your city. You can also snap a picture to reference later and keep it in a dedicated album on your phone.

6. Keep an open mind. The perfect photo location doesn’t have to be a huge monument or breathtaking view. A flowering tree or pretty gateway can be all you need to create a vibe, as long as you frame your photo correctly. All of the photos in this post were taken in just a few square feet of lush bamboo in my neighborhood. Even in an ugly place, you can find one spot where the light hits just right and creates a magical photo!

These photos that look like they’re taken in a lush forest were actually taken in front of a bamboo fence in my neighborhood!