1. Take Your Dad Somewhere Outdoors With Vast Beauty
If you're over the age of 1, then your dad has probably said something similar to, "They grow so fast." One way to remind dad of the good ol' days is to find a big landscape that dwarfs just how much you've grown over the years. Be sure to take perspective into account when setting up your shot. Use a wide angle lens, distance yourself from the camera, and use a grand view as the backdrop.
Upon seeing how small you look in the final photo, your dad will be transported back to the days when you fit comfortably in his arm, waited patiently out front of your school for a ride, or accompanied him on all of those fun camping trips when you were little. The key part of this step is to plan ahead so you can get to a grand destination without your motives for the trip being questioned. No matter where you ultimately decide to go, take your dad somewhere amazing. If he asks why you're taking more photos than normal, you'll be able to blame it on the incredible views..."Because it's beautiful, dad!"
2. Take On Some Challenges While You're Out
The best photos are the shots that remind you of a great adventure where things didn't go exactly as planned. A good way to build in some uncertainty is to tackle a few tough challenges on your photo trip.
Consider this example: Maybe the vast landscape you chose to visit in #1 has several huge peaks nearby. In that case don't just get out of the car, snap a photo with the peaks in the far-off distance, and call it good. Think about how much better the photo would look from the top of one of the peaks. If your dad is up for the challenge, you know what to do next. Carefully gauge your dad's abilities and keep him on his toes. Phrases like, "I wonder what it's like beyond that water crossing" or "This is pretty, but I've heard it's breathtaking at the top" are good to know for those times when the going gets too easy.
Nobody looks at a photo and says, "Oh, is this photo from that trip where everything went as planned." During this step your job is to make sure that when you hand your dad the photo he'll be reminded of a good story (or two).
3) Make Sure You And Your Dad Are In The Photo
At this point in the process you should have overcome challenges in beautiful terrain, which will lead to some fatigue. However, don't forget an important detail in your state of exhaustion. You need to both be in the photo! Things are always better with dad, and this goes for your Father's Day photo, too.
Get to the spot you want to take the photo, share the vision of the photo with your dad (dad stand over here. Good, now a little to the left. Perfect. Right there. Now smile), and make sure he's ready for the next step.
4) Take The Photo
If you've managed to get your dad in a remote enough location, then this step can be a little bit tricky. You may have to use the self-timer mode on your camera. This means running fast, getting far enough away from the camera and looking relaxed by the time you hear the shutter. Be sure to go through this process a few times so you can choose the best shot. Also, make sure to review each shot in the field to make sure you're hitting the mark.
If other people are around, see if they can help you with your photo. If you have several people to choose from, look around and see if there are any details that suggest one of them is a good photographer before initiating conversation.
Maybe they are taking their own photos and have strong "photography crouch" form. Maybe they have an expensive camera and a fancy lens. Hone in on the photo expert and start with some simple trail talk. After building some rapport, ask if they'd mind taking a picture of you and your dad. This can save you a lot of energy that you'd otherwise be spending running back and forth between your dad and your camera.
After you have your shot you can relax. At this point you and your dad have had a great day together and you have the photo to prove it. Go home, print the picture, and make sure you can get it to your dad by Father's Day. Remember, it's always better to be early with your gift.
5) What if Your Photo Doesn't Turn Out?
As with anything in life, things don't always work perfectly. Sometimes you get back and find out that all your photos are blurry, underexposed, or maybe they're not even there due to a failing memory card. Don't sweat it. Just ask your dad to do it all again. This time, be sure to let him know how much you enjoy spending time with him. After all, a photo with dad is good, but an adventure with dad is better.