Tomorrow is Litha--the summer solstice--in the northern hemisphere

The longest day--and shortest night of the year! While nights will start to lengthen after the solstice, days are still heating up, which means--it's camping season!

Family camping is amazing, and has so many different looks: backpacking to an off-grid site with gorgeous mountain or coastal views, car camping at a family campground with a fire ring and picnic table, or traveling in an RV from place to place while you see the country. Some families camp for months at a time, some go once a year; some do it for family reunions, some keep it to only the people they share a house with.

No matter how you camp though, it's usually memorable.

So, why not document that experience? Even though it's never been easier to have a decent quality camera on hand, there are things hiring a professional can bring that you can't get with a smart phone. Here are 5 reasons why I recommend booking a pro to join you on your next family adventure:

I. Everyone is in the shot

In just about every family I know and have worked with, there is always one person who takes the pictures--which means they are never in the pictures. I am a big fan of selfies, but when you're showing off pictures of your trip to grandparents or friends, or when your kids look back on them later, having shots that show the entire family are worth more than words can say.

II. Photos are authentic

Documenting a camping trip is a form of what we pros call "lifestyle" photography, which means you're going to get shots showing your family the way you're most likely to see in your memories. Your photographs reflect the everyday moments, and personalities really get a chance to shine. Family members who are camera-shy or otherwise uncomfortable with professional portraits are under less pressure to "perform," and can just be themselves, leading to more authentic smiles and interactions. You also get those "in between" moments, which are where I find the most emotion.

III. Turn the Ordinary into Art

Professional photographers dedicate a LOT of time to studying light, angles, movement, and composition, which allows us to turn the ordinary into art. Having a photographer join you at your campsite doesn't just mean a nice camera and an extra person to make sure you get in the frame, but it also means external lighting for when the sun starts to drop, so we get everyone's shocked laughter when a marshmallow catches on fire. Years of experience lets us anticipate moments and know exactly where to be and when to click.

IV. Capture the Adventure

If you have hiking, kayaking, climbing, or other activities planned for your camping trip, let us come along! You'll get pictures of the excitement, and it saves you the pack weight and worry about bringing your own camera.

V. Enjoy every moment!

There's a belief that you cannot simultaneously experience a moment while describing that moment. I speak from experience that I am sometimes so caught up taking pictures of my kids, that I don't fully see what it is they are doing outside of my phone or camera lens. Hand over the modern responsibility of documenting every moment, and allow yourself to be fully immersed in your family and the amazing memories you are building together.

And finally, a bonus reason--

If you're someone who believes that life is better around the campsite (it's me, I'm that someone), your family likely also enjoys looking at pictures from trips you've taken. My kids LOVE seeing pictures of their early camping trips that they can't really remember. And I love the shots I took on trips when my mom was still alive and was able to join us. Camp with a dog? I'll make sure your four-legged camping buddies are just as included as the rest of the family. It's common to hire a photographer while on family vacations when everyone is together and relaxed! If camping is what that looks like? Invite me along for an afternoon--I'll bring the s'mores!