We’ve all been there. Someone–Grandma, Dad, the next-door-neighbor–pulls out a photo album or a photo book and painstakingly describes each photo. Two hours later you decide you no longer need to visit the Bahamas because somehow it has come to sound like a place that is both boring and bland. Photos are an excellent way to capture a trip, but most photos miss the mark in capturing the true personality and the beauty of an adventure. Family vataction, time awayfrom work, and trips with loved ones are some of the sweetest times of life, and they deserve to be documented correctly. Often photos are just you and your family/loved one smiling… and insert background. It’s time to step up your adventure documentation game. 

There’s a better way to document your trip, and to document it in a way that you will actually want to look back on, and to show other people. Instead of relying on photos to tell the story of your trip, use videos to completely capture moments as you experienced them. Trust me, I’ve gone back to pursue videos I’ve made of trips many, many more times than I’ve gone back through my phone to look at old pictures. I got this idea from Kara Leigh Alden, blogger at The Alden Treehouse. She is a travel genius and has been documenting trips like this for years now. Videos give you the opportunity to wrap up your trip in a nicely wrapped box with music, personality, and flair. Here are some tips to follow for movie making on your next adventure.

Choose your vibe

Before you start shooting for your video, decide what vibe you are going for. This last weekend, a few friends and I went on a trip to Zion National Park (see video below). It rained the entire time we were there. When I asked what song should go along to our videos, Lacey’s suggestion of “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” seemed like the perfect idea. As you start shooting your videos, think about what songs best match the personality of the people you’re with and the personality of your trip. Does your trip merit some wild tunes from Led Zeppelin or some chill music from Pink Floyd? You decide.

Get Candid Shots

When I went back to make my first video after one of Jackson and I’s trips, I discovered a problem. Most of our videos were us… waving and smiling at the camera. It’s an easy impulse to wave when you’re being filmed, but that, to some extent, defeats the purpose of filming your trip. You can’t capture the spirit of your adventure of you are waving awkwardly or smiling in ever video. Capture scenes where the person being filmed isn’t exactly aware of what you’re doing. It’ll help create the idea of what it was like to be on your trip.

Shoot Landscape

This advice has two different meanings. One (the obvious one): make sure to get shots of the scenery that you enjoyed on your trip. Cascading waterfalls, luscious green fields, or a road covered in motor bikes are great clips to intersperse between shots of your and your loved ones having a blast. My second piece of advice has to do with how you hold your camera. Make sure to get your shots in landscape view rather than holding your camera lens vertically. Computer screens and TVs are all longer than they are tall, so when you hold your camera properly (landscape/lengthways), the video you capture will be properly prepared for the big screen! I use my iPhone for most of my videos, but GoPros are certainly the camera of choice, especially when your adventuring will take you into some wild situations. Check out this video Jackson took while we were in Vietnam. This is the right way to shoot videos… and the right way to cross the street over there!

Get Creative

Don’t limit your video to candid shots, landscape scenes, and sweet tunes. While we were in Vietnam, Jackson was obsessed with the Men without Hats song, “Safety Dance.” In the music video for the song, the members of the band do a funny dance where they basically pantomime making a box with their hands, their arms at right angles. Jackson insisted on doing the dance all throughout Vietnam. The result? Our very own “Saftey Dance” music video, complete with a little bit of editing that made it look like our guide was dancing. Make music videos, record your own song or narrative of the video, or choose a favorite short story and act it out while you’re on your trip. The more creative, the better.

Do you have your own home adventuring videos or tips on best ways to capture the best parts of your life? Post them in the comments section below.