Have you ever heard of a bucket list? I have a casual one that I love checking things off of, such as places to travel to, or things I have always wanted to do. It helps me prioritize my time, and be more efficient with the things I do when we travel or spend our vacation days. I encourage parents to create a similar bucket list of their own, especially during then summertime or other seasons when they don’t want to miss out on memories with their littles. Here are some tips to making a successful bucket list, and actually following through on it:

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-Think about the moments you’ve missed: Consider family events or holidays that you’ve missed in the past, or wished you had photos of. Maybe opening gifts around the Christmas tree, or thanksgiving dinner. Add in photos with elderly relatives who you will wish you had portraits with when they aren’t present anymore, and make sure to preserve those for grandkids or great-grandkids. Keeping in contact with older folks even on the phone is so important and these photos act as a timely reminder of this. It is helpful to make the family type lists (“Great Grandpa Joe with all the grandkids”) before family reunions or other large events.

-Be realistic: Chances are, if you aim for 2-3 photos a day, you are not going to come close to achieving your goal and will get discouraged or quit. Setting achievable goals means you’re more likely to follow through, so think about how many photos you typically take. Consequently, you should research the best cameras for the type of photography you intend to do. You can find cameras to suit every type of photographer, including beginners and experts. You can also look for online articles, such as those by Zeff Photo or similar photography blogs to guide you in your camera purchase. On the off chance, if you are an iPhone junkie who loves portrait mode and snaps dozens a day, you will be more likely to get that treasured one photo a day, but if you rarely enjoy taking photos, you might be more apt to make a shorter list with more general items on it, such as “the Grand Canyon” or “photo of all the grandkids”.

-Research before you travel: Before you set out on any destination trip, research the area and find out which things are historical landmarks or special places that you’ll want to add to your “bucket list”. You may not be aware of cultural milestones or events that happened there, or beautiful lakes or rivers. Since you don’t always make a second trip to a vacation spot, it’s best to prepare ahead of time so you are ready to capture the ones you’ll want. I have seen a few photographers heading over to Iceland recently. As Iceland has a lot of natural beauty, the pictures are always beautiful. Maybe that’s somewhere I should look into. I’ve heard that I could even hire a camper van from Rent.is (click here) to travel round to these different sites. That should help me to get some nice pictures.

-Make your bucket list include activities you were already planning to do: If your family enjoys doing things on the weekends like going to the farmer’s market or local wineries, or eating in the city, these are things you can add to your list. They may sound mundane, but having a beautiful photo of your children at the farmer’s market may create a memory you will treasure forever, and will also help your family stay active and in tune with their schedule.

-Hire a professional: If you simply don’t enjoy taking photos but have beautiful, candid shots on your list, consider hiring a professional. A professional photographer will be able to get you those lasting images with less stress, and more experience. I love doing studio portraits as well as outdoor, on-location photos, and I’d be happy to hear some of your ideas about where you might like to go, or things you’d like to do!

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