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How to make fine art photographs on your next vacation 

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My family traveled to San Diego during Christmas vacation and we spent our days on a sunny and warm beach. It was a great vacation and I used this time to check in with my muse and explore the area visually with my camera.

Travel is a great way to escape from the daily grind and find creative inspiration again. This area of San Diego is where I spent some time as a child and I returned to see it again and to share my love for the ocean with my children.

Besides hanging out on the beach, we took a couple of days to visit Universal Studios and the San Diego Zoo — everyone really enjoyed themselves. I took the opportunity to photograph the scenes we came across in a fine art sort of way.

I think anyone should be able to take pictures of their vacation and make some fine art that you can frame and display on your wall at home to remind you of your trip.

Here’s how I went about making my vacation pictures. Hopefully these tips help you the next time you take a vacation.

Find the time to walk

Whenever I visit a place I’m not familiar with I try and find the time to take a good walk, especially early in the morning. For this trip I woke up several times before the sun rose and walked to the beach. Bringing my camera with me, I made sure to take some time to photograph the scenes I encountered. Surfing is big in San Diego so I also spent some time photographing the surfers from the beach, and capturing beach scenes with my camera.

Slow down

When I’m on vacation I try to remind myself to slow down a little. When I slow down I’m ready to tap into my mind’s eye and think more creatively. Rushing around every day from one to-do list item to the next makes it easy to ignore your creative impulses. A without slowing down it’s nearly impossible to act on them. So the next time you're on vacation make time to reflect and you will find that your creativity is allowed once again to emerge from the background of your day-to-day life.

Don’t forget your camera

I didn’t have any specific plans to take pictures on our vacation. I brought my camera, of course, but on some days I didn’t take it with me. And during our travels, I found myself without my real camera. Do you know the old saying “The best camera you have is the one you have with you?” Well that was certainly true for me. Can you guess which of these pictures was made with an iPhone and which ones with my DSLR?

Don’t forget your camera, the next time you travel and creative inspiration strikes!

Happy Shooting!
Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.

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