10 Lessons I Learned on my First Vacation as a Photographer

For the first time in 4 years and really for the first time as an "adult," I took an entire week off. As a freelance photographer it's extremely scary to take off time during the first few years of your career. Questions like "What if I miss out on a huge job?" "What will my clients say when they can't reach me?" "Will this end my career?" all constantly haunted me leading up to my first vacation. I have been away for long periods of time before and often, but all for shoots, whether brand sponsored trips to Montana or documenting basketball in Rwanda no matter how amazing the scenery or how great the people I shared those trips were, it was work. Now, almost 4 years into my career, it was time to take a vacation. Here are the lessons I learned: 

  1. Chase the light. - This is easy for a photographer but combine that with beautiful scenery and no photographic deadline and you have a beautiful beginning and end to each day. 
  2. Drink the wine, lots of it. 
  3. Travel with the people you love. (They make great subjects)
  4. Explore. - I was lucky enough to visit Martha's Vineyard, where I spent an entire summer there during college. There were tourist places I had visited many times but never explored. Check out the cliff shots below.
  5. Disconnect. - This is really about email. I checked it only twice during the 10 day trip. Luckily I had a bunch of bid requests waiting for me and all came with a nice "please do this after your vacation." It was a beautiful thing to see how understanding my clients are. After all, most of these clients are now my true friends and let me tell you, they love vacation too. The only tool I used the whole time was instagram. Instagram doesn't send me on tangents reading meaningless articles or watching youtube videos for hours. I just post a few times and put my phone back to sleep. 
  6. Photograph sparingly. Less is more. - I took the camera out a few times but really tried to look first and photograph later. Not only did this help make vacation better but I think it's a great exercise for photography in general.
  7. Experiment - This goes for a lot of things. In photography, I only shot with a super wide angle lens for a couple reasons: I am trying to master the wider shot and I wanted to capture landscapes for my new apartment walls. On the other end, a friend of mine introduced me to a gold fish - chocolate chip combo. Pretty delicious. 
  8. Eat everything - I ate clams right out of the bay, blue fish caught only hours before and lots of cheese. Why not?
  9. Float. - There's nothing more zen than sitting on a raft starring at the sky and bobbing in the waves. It revived me.
  10. Everything will be fine.  - In the end, all my clients not only understood that I was on vacation, but respected it tremendously and followed along on my instagram. Business did not stop, emails rolled in and nothing changed. I'm just more relaxed now and ready to tackle the next four years! Hopefully, with many more vacations in between. 
 A sun rise ferry ride from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven. 

A sun rise ferry ride from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven. 

 A lone sail boat crosses the early morning sun. 

A lone sail boat crosses the early morning sun. 

 The Gay Head Cliffs of Aquinnah around sunset. 

The Gay Head Cliffs of Aquinnah around sunset. 

 The path away from a tourist lookout.

The path away from a tourist lookout.

 No caption needed. 

No caption needed. 

To follow along my commercial and personal photo/film adventures check out my instagram and website. Thanks for reading!