7 Photography Tips for Your Next Blogger FAM Trip

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Sunset in Sarasota, Florida

Sunset in Sarasota, Florida

Looking to add a little zest to your travel photos? Following are my seven photography tips for your next blogger FAM trip.

Not sure if it’s a curse or blessing but I’m a rare (maybe not so rare?) travel blogger-marketing hybrid. My day (and sometimes nights and weekends) job is marketing in the tourism industry which includes coordinating FAM trips (short for familiarization). I’m also a travel blogger and influencer. (Marketer’s term, not mine.)

During a Travel Blogger Trip, Ensure It's Okay to Snap Photos in the Restaurant

During a Travel Blogger Trip, Ensure It’s Okay to Snap Photos in the Restaurant

What’s a FAM?
A FAM trip, or media trip, is an educational trip to familiarize members of the media about a destination. Typically, a destination’s tourism office or public relations/marketing agency designs an itinerary to highlight the area then hosts members of the media, including bloggers and online influencers (such as though influential on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, etc.), to share their experience.

I’ve seen the evolution from traditional press trips to blogger and influencer trips and there is a difference between the two. Media trips attended by bloggers and influencers see immediate results in the form of Tweets and posts to other social media channels. While traditional (print) journalists first scoffed at bloggers, most have realized they need to be accepting and have joined the social media revolution.

I’ve also been on and have hosted trips attended by both traditional journalists (print) and bloggers and it’s always interesting seeing the dynamics. It’s almost as if long-lost cousins are meeting for the first time at a family reunion, comparing notes and learning from each other, whether it’s exchanging information on photography apps or sharing contacts.

Stu and Me on Our First Day of Kindergarten, Harris Hill Elementary, Clarence, N.Y., 1975

Stu and Me on Our First Day of Kindergarten, Harris Hill Elementary, Clarence, N.Y., 1975

Sharing What I Know About Photography
Disclaimer: By no means am I a professional photographer but I’ve been using a camera since I was a kid and owned my first one when I was 11. I’m just sharing my knowledge based on observations and experiences with hopes of assisting fellow bloggers and tourism marketing pros in making the most of the photographing opportunities when participating on a group blogger FAM trip to help tell a visual story.

Fruit and Cheese, Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014 #OldSchoolVA #LoveVA

Fruit and Cheese, Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014 #OldSchoolVA #LoveVA

Tip 1: Wait! Don’t Eat that Yet!
Seasoned bloggers and influencers know this golden rule. You don’t dig into a food dish, whether it’s the appetizer or your own meal, until everyone in the group has had an opportunity to photograph it. Yes, your food will probably be cold by the time you take that first bite but the image will forever live in Tweets, posts, videos and Vines.

Travel to France: Blocks of Soap at La Savonnerie Marius Fabre

Travel to France: Blocks of Soap at La Savonnerie Marius Fabre

Tip 2: Do a Bit of Research
Do at least a little bit of research about the destination you’ll be visiting even if it’s just looking up the tourism bureau’s website or TripAdvisor. This will give you ideas on what to photograph such as, are the sunrises stunning? Is there a signature landmark? Where do the locals hang out?

Soap Distribution Trip to Guatemala with Clean the World and In-Country Partner - Children International, May 28, 2014

Soap Distribution Trip to Guatemala with Clean the World and In-Country Partner – Children International, May 28, 2014

Tip 3: Get Out of the Way
Maybe I’m just not as aggressive as other bloggers but there’s nothing that irks me more than people getting in the way of my shots when it can be avoid. Typically on these blogger media trips, time is limited and although you need a full-day to experience an attraction, you may be given 30 minutes to see the highlights and it’s a lot of running and gunning. Be courteous to your fellow bloggers and once you’ve taken your shot, move out of the way so they can take theirs. Of course, learning to shoot on the run is a big advantage on those fast-paced trips.

Tourism Marketing Pro Tip: As the media trip host, be sure each of your guests have gotten their shots before you move in for yours.

Soap Distribution Trip to Guatemala with Clean the World and In-Country Partner - Children International, May 29, 2014

Soap Distribution Trip to Guatemala with Clean the World and In-Country Partner – Children International, May 29, 2014

Tip 4: Snap their Photos
If a fellow blogger isn’t getting out of your shot, use it to your advantage. Adding people in your photos can add interest and character. Maybe try a closeup of their hands doing something such as holding a fishing rod or cutting an apple during a cooking class. If you plan to use photos with people in them, please, please, please (and I’m begging here) ensure they are flattering photos.

Shell Trees at Stump Pass Beach State Park, Englewood, Fla., Jan. 18, 2015

Shell Trees at Stump Pass Beach State Park, Englewood, Fla., Jan. 18, 2015

Tip 5: Disperse!
There’s nothing more lackluster than ten bloggers snapping and uploading a photo of the same thing from the same angle. If you have the opportunity to move away from the group to get another angle, do it!

Ramón, a Cigar Roller at La Leyenda del Cigarro Shop, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Ramón, a Cigar Roller at La Leyenda del Cigarro Shop, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Tip 6: Add Dimension
Don’t get me wrong, sunsets are stunning but after a few years of heading to the beach to catch another sunset slip into the Gulf of Mexico, I realized the the images were kind of boring. Plus, it could have been taken anywhere else where there’s a large body of water. These days, I still love snapping sunset photos but I look for something to include in the foreground or something to add a little dimension and texture, whether it be a tree, boat, bird, etc. I’ve also gotten on my knees and even my belly to capture moving water.

#Selfie! That's Me!

#Selfie! That’s Me!

Tip 7: Don’t Forget You!
#Selfies are the in thing but it’s also nice to have a non-selfie photo of yourself to document a moment. Don’t be afraid to ask your fellow bloggers to snap your photo. Or, use the timer function on your camera. iPhone users can use the volume button on their earbuds as a remote to snap a photo (as long as the earbuds are in the iPhone) or invest in a remote for your smartphone. I was given Click & Go Remote for Christmas and when paired with the Click & Go Plus app, works really well when others aren’t around to snap your photo.

Do your fellow bloggers a favor and offer to snap their photos. Or, snap their photos and with your devices and email them off. They’ll appreciate it!

Tourism Marketing Pro Tip: Offer to snap photos of your guests and be sure snap photos of the group for future trip documentation to show what you’ve accomplished to your boss and stakeholders

Well, that’s all I’ve got when it comes to photography tips during a blogger FAM trip. What tips do you have?

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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4 Comments

  1. I certainly don’t mind taking someone else’s photo on a FAM trip, but I have to tell you that I was on one trip where one of the bloggers constantly asked me to take her photo… it almost drove me crazy! lol

  2. Great advice! Thank you for taking the time to share!

  3. I can see how that would be annoying, Cacinda! Would’ve been nice if the PR rep had noticed and jumped in to snap those photos!

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