How to take the perfect honeymoon photos - Rebecca Gatto Photography

How to capture perfect honeymoon photos

Nov 21, 2017

Everyone knows it’s important to consider how you will document your wedding memories. Whether you’re hiring a professional or just asking guests to use your wedding hashtag, chances are you’ve given your wedding photos more than a little thought.

how to plan perfect honeymoon photos

But what about your honeymoon photos? They’re just as important as your wedding photos. Whether you’re hopping a flight to a tropical paradise or planning your dream staycation, it’s your first getaway as a married couple! That’s a big deal.

Unlike your wedding day, though, you probably won’t hire a professional to follow you around with a DSLR and fancy lighting equipment. Nope; recording your honeymoon photos is all up to you.

Here’s the good news: with a little preparation, you’ll be guaranteed to take home honeymoon photos that you’ll love forever. And you might even discover a love for photography along the way!

The secret to great honeymoon photography is simple: make sure you enjoy taking your honeymoon photos. The last thing you want to do is interrupt your romantic vacation to wrestle with heavy, complicated equipment. If you’re frustrated by your gear, you’ll take fewer pictures. And what’s the point of that?Honeymoon photos on instant film

Planning ahead for great honeymoon photos

When I’m traveling, I want to devote 100% of my attention to what’s around me. I can’t do that if I’m constantly worried that I might break a lens, or that someone could snatch my camera bag.

I also hate going through airport security with my heavy gear bag in addition to my carry-on, my shoes, and probably a huge cup of coffee.

But I still know that when I get home, I’m going to want beautiful images to reminisce over, share with family and friends, and decorate my home.

Thankfully, image technology has become so amazing that it’s completely possible to have it all. Just about anyone can access lightweight, inexpensive gear that takes great photos.

Even though I’m a professional photographer and I obsess over my equipment, I sometimes travel without it so I can be more present in the moment.

Below are three solutions I’ve used, including gear-specific ways to protect your photos while traveling.

Solution One: Your phone

selfies are honeymoon photos, too!

The little camera that you always have in your purse or pocket could be enough for all your honeymoon photos. It’s compact, easy to use, and best of all, you already own it! However, there are some caveats to consider.

First, smartphones can be prime targets for theft, especially in popular tourist spots. When I travel, I usually leave my phone locked up so I don’t have to worry about it.

If you do choose to travel with your phone close at hand, consider wearing it on a strap so it’s less likely to be snatched. There are plenty of products available for just this purpose: wrist straps, cross-body straps and even lanyards with waterproof bags to protect your device.

Second, smartphones have limited image size capabilities, as well as limited storage. I can’t count the number of times I’ve found myself deleting podcasts and apps to take just a few more pictures. By the time I’ve cleared the space, the moment I wanted to capture has often passed.

Third, they have limited image size capability. There are some apps you can download to take larger-sized photos in a pinch (my favorite is the Moment app), but they quickly eat up that precious memory space, leaving you less room for taking pics.

Honeymoon photos with a smartphoneAnd finally, smartphones are not known for their fabulous photos in low light. So at dinner or after dark, you may have to settle for “good enough.”

Making the smartphone work for honeymoon photos

All that said, you can definitely make a smartphone work for you, especially if you’re willing to try out some new accessories. There are many lens, light, and case attachments that can improve smartphone photography. It may also be the most budget-friendly option, since you likely already own a camera phone.

The biggest “pro” to using a smartphone for your honeymoon photos is the ability to back up your images whenever you find WiFi. Before you leave for the big trip, set up an account with a cloud service and make sure you know how to back up full-sized images. Google Photos, for example, will back up your images for you, but it only keeps full-sized copies if you upgrade to the paid version. Apple’s iCloud is another popular solution.

This serves two purposes. One, if something happens to your phone, you’ll still have your photos. And two, you can delete the local copy (the one on your phone) after the photo has been backed up. That will leave you more space for new memories.

Depending on your internet connection, this process can take a while, so make sure you begin your photo backup before you go to sleep. Otherwise, it’ll take up time when you could be adventuring!

Honeymoon photos: Le Tour Eiffel after a rainstorm

Solution Two: A “point-and-shoot” camera

For Christmas a couple of years ago I bought my husband this Nikon Coolpix. We’ve both been impressed with the way the camera can balance a scene—the night mode, especially, works beautifully. My husband took the image on the right during our honeymoon, when a brief rainstorm created a beautiful reflection of the Eiffel Tower.

It’s completely possible to buy a decent point-and-shoot model (that means it’s fully automatic and does not have interchangeable lenses) for less than $100. However, be aware that with cheaper models, you may sacrifice image size. That might be okay with you if you’re just going to post your photos to Facebook or print 4×6 images at a self-service kiosk.

But if you’re hoping to hang a photo from your travels over the mantel, be sure to check the camera’s megapixel capability. Megapixels are the measurement photographers use to describe the size of a digital image. So before purchasing a camera, consider how you plan to use the photos. Then check this handy chart to find the minimum number of megapixels you should look for while shopping.

Protecting your point-and-shoot images

With any digital camera, you’ll need to bring along memory cards. It might be tempting to buy the biggest one you can find so you won’t run out of space. However, that means that if you lose or damage your camera, you could lose all of your honeymoon pictures at once.

honeymoon photos on a point-and-shoot camera

Some cameras have technology that will allow you to back up your photos if you have WiFi, but it’s risky to rely on the network connection at hotels and hostels. Plus, it can be time-consuming and frustrating.

Instead, purchase a handful of smaller memory cards—you can find inexpensive multi-packs online—and swap them out often. Unless you simply can’t stop taking photos, about 1GB of memory per day of your trip should be plenty. I’ve linked a five-pack of 2GB cards below, which would be enough for a 10-day trip!

As you take your honeymoon photos, mark the full memory cards with a permanent marker. Then, use the little switch on the side of the card to make it “read-only.” (This diagram shows where to find the switch.) Store the cards in a hard plastic case somewhere secure, preferably a safe or a locker. That way, if you’re on a whale-watching tour and your camera goes overboard, (or if somebody spills a drink), you only lose one or two days of photos, instead of your entire trip.


Solution Three: Instant film

instax honeymoon photosAh, my travel camera of choice: the Instax. I love everything about this little camera. It’s adorable, it spits out tiny photos right away, it weighs nothing, and I have this cute blue case to keep it in! It’s basically nothing at all like my DSLR, which means it never feels like work.

I also love that I don’t have to worry about charging my Instax. It runs on AA batteries, which you can find in just about any country.

My husband and I agree that the photos it takes come out looking like memories. They’re dreamy and a little oversaturated. Plus, you get to admire them right away!

Things to consider before using instant film for honeymoon photos

There are some obvious shortcomings to using instant film for your honeymoon photos. First of all, they’re one of a kind. That’s part of what makes them special, but it also means if one gets lost or damaged, there’s no way to bring it back.

The small size could be a problem, too. For me, it’s part of what makes the little pictures so charming. I’m happy to make a little collage of them or tape them into a scrapbook—they don’t need to be enormous! But again, that will depend on how you want to use your photos.

While traveling, it’s a good idea to “back up” copies of your favorite instant photos using a scanner app on your phone. I prefer GeniusScan on my iPhone, but there are plenty of other options out there. Of course, use a real, high-quality scanner to back them up when you get home.

You’ll also want to be cautious of heat and moisture around your photos, since the film is sensitive to the elements. If you’re extra-careful, you can ask to have your film and photos inspected by hand at airport security.

Technically speaking, Instax film will be fine going through the x-ray scanner, both before and after it’s been exposed. I always err on the side of caution and ask to have it inspected by hand. If you’re using a different type of instant film, research whether it can handle coming into contact with x-rays.

Choosing equipment for your honeymoon photos

Here’s my test: If I dropped this piece of equipment into the ocean, would it ruin my day? If the answer is yes, then it’s the wrong equipment for my travels. I don’t want to worry about a single thing. But just like your new marriage (congratulations, you!), your honeymoon will be unique, and so will your travel style!

How will you take your honeymoon photos? I can’t wait to see them! Tag @rebeccatakespics on Instagram so I can lavish you with compliments!

P.S. All the photos on this page are really from my honeymoon. I hope you love them!

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