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As much as I love my professional camera equipment, when it’s comes to vacations I choose to leave it all at home. With the ease, convenience, and quality of camera phones I’ve made the choice to forgo the bulky gear and travel light whenever possible. Last year when we went to Guadalajara I tested out travel photography with my iPhone only, and I have never looked back! So when we booked our two week Japan trip I knew my iPhone had everything I needed and more to document the trip for not only our memories, but as a way to fulfill my creativity.

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All photos taken with iPhone 6

When it comes to documenting your travels, whether it’s your honeymoon, family vacation or a business trip there are a few important tips and suggestions to keep in mind.

  1. See the light. In all honesty this can take years to really learn, but whenever shooting (for personal or clients) I’m looking for 3 types of lighting: backlight, open shade, and window light. These make up my shooting style and are extremely flattering forms of light. When in doubt look for even lighting without harsh shadows. It never hurts to snap a few photos to test the light before committing to a certain spot or angle.
  2. Photograph the details. From texture to peeling paint on the walls, to the trees above, and everything in between. I’m a big believer that the little details help tell the complete story of your trip.
  3. Clean your lens. This may seem obvious, but when your constantly taking your phone in and out of your pockets, bags, etc. things are bound to get dirty. If you notice a haze or fuzzy look to your photos quickly wipe off your lens with the clean sleeve of your shirt and you’ll be good to go!
  4. Avoid zooming in camera. Although this is a nice feature in theory, it drastically affects the quality of your photos. Move closer to your subject if need rather than relying on the zoom.
  5. Edit as you go. Throughout the day I am shooting regularly but I like to wait till the end of the day, or during a long train/subway/plane ride to select my favorites and edit. I look through all my photos from the day and favorite them by clicking “heart icon” below the photo on your iPhone. This copies all selected photos to your favorites folder and from there I upload them to VSCO. This is my preferred editing app, but there are lots of other great options to play with. Once in VSCO I edit all my photos from the day and export them into my camera stream. From there I select the final edits and copy them into a new folder for the trip i.e. “Japan.”
  6. Less is more. When it comes to how I actually edit my photos I like to keep the crazy filters and drastic edits to a minimum. I choose my favorite filter (A6 in VSCO) and always lower the amount to about 25-50% strength. This keeps your photos from looking overly processed. Then I usually increase the exposure and contract a little, and that’s it! I apply this same process to all the photos so everything looks consistent and cohesive.
  7. Rinse and repeat. I follow the above steps every day until the end of my trip. By doing so, my pictures are ready to print and share the moment I return home.
  8. Print your photos! It’s easy to get sucked back into life and catching up when you return from travels, so I highly recommend you print, order books, and share your photos ASAP. Mpix is a great resource I always recommend to my clients for prints, books, and lots of other photo goodies. Personally, I love to print a book from each International trip we take. It has become a highlight for me and the perfect keepsake, especially since I’m not into purchasing a lot of souvenirs.

I hope these tips are helpful for documenting you next trip! I would love to hear from you in the comments below. What’s the hardest obstacle when it comes to photographing your vacations?

  • Rachelle - Great tips! I keep getting warnings that my phone is full of photos so I need to apply some of your tips to keep things organized!! :)

  • Japan in Black & White - […] more about how I took and edited these photos (all with my iPhone) you can read all about it in my 8 tips for better vacation photos. Feel free to reach out with any questions, I’m only an email away. […]

They say you get better with age, and as I enter the last year of my 20’s I like to think this is true! ;) The older the get the more comfortable I’ve become at just being “me.” This means laughing at myself daily, accepting that I’m far from perfect, and striving to live an authentic life. I don’t want to look back at my time here and wish I did it any differently.

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So on my 29th Birthday, here are 5 things you (probably) don’t know about me. Here’s to another year of discovery, laughter, and finding my path along the way.

  1. If I could only take one thing with me on a deserted island it would be Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (sunscreen coming in as a close second place). I need lip balm with me at all times! If I leave the house without it, I will stop and buy more – I may or may not have a problem…
  2. My father is a holistic Veterinarian, and my mom was a Massage Therapist. To say I had a hippy upbringing would be the understatement of the year. I resisted the healthy food, yoga, and vitamins for years, but as I get older I find myself excited to make healthy goodies (almond milk, sauerkraut and bone broth to name a few), and truly take a care of my mind and body. Maybe they were on to something all along. ;)
  3. Thanks to scholarships, grants, and financial aid, my entire college education was paid for. I have both an Associates of Arts in Still Photography and with a Bachelors of Arts in Photo Communications. Although I didn’t need a college degree to pursue photography, I’m so glad I graduated! What I learned about myself during that time was invaluable.
  4. I am currently training for my first half marathon (coming up on April 24th) with the help and encouragement of my brother and sister-in-law. At times it still seems like an impossible goal for me, but I keep training and I’m scared excited to see how far I can push myself on race day.
  5. No matter how bad the day, when I get a camera in my hands and start documenting the world around me, everything falls back into place.

*Special thanks to Brandi Welles for the lovely pictures!

  • Brandi - You’re too cute~

  • Rachelle - Happy Birthday Kaysha! I hope your 29th year brings you lots of joy and new adventures! And I can’t leave the house without Burts Bees lip balm either, let’s buy stock!! :)

Family sessions are such a wonderful change of pace for me. I love seeing the interaction between siblings, parents, and the entire family. Often times, these sessions are the most satisfying because not everything goes according to plan. As we all know, kids rarely want to stand around posing for the camera. Funny faces, bad jokes, and a little bribery go a long way to ensure a successful family shoot. ;)

This stylish Old Town Orange family session was one of my favorites from last year. Their outfits were spot on and I just love the whole vibe of this sweet family. Take a peek into their shoot with just a few of my favorite photos!

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Oddly enough, one of my “happy places” just happens to be my office. The space just feels good, and for so many years I envied those with their very own studio or office. I still pinch myself every time I have a meeting or shoot here, and coming to work is nothing short of enjoyable!

The space has seen several changes over the years and, with the addition of this beautiful blue rug… it finally feels complete. Take a look around! If you like what you see and want to swing by, shoot me an email! I would love to see your smiling face!

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  • Rachelle - So pretty! I love all the little details that make your office so unique and comfortable. Nice job Kaysha!!

Watching my couples become parents has quickly become one of my favorite things. This is such an amazing time of change in their lives, and documenting their pregnancy is a must in my book! Debbie and Kenneth are about as sweet as they come, so naturally I loved getting them back in front of my camera for their maternity session.

I am just now getting around to blogging their session, but they have already welcomed a healthy baby boy into their home and I cannot wait to continue to watch this family grow.

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  • Debbie - Ahhhhh I just saw these! Absolutely stunning!! Thank you these beautiful photos! You are truly magical <3 Love you Kaysha!! Thank you for everything!!