Are you planning a family vacation? While spending time with one another on family vacations takes precedence, it’s important to capture the moments too with some family photos. But if you often find taking family photos challenging enough, let alone in some far-off destination where everyone’s distracted and eager to explore, it can be overwhelming.
But don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are eight tips for taking great family vacation photos, from choosing cute children’s clothes to match with mom and dad to editing images to create the perfect photos of unforgettable memories.
#1 Plan Your Outfits
Any vacation calls for a new ensemble or two. But when you plan to take great family vacation photos, you want everyone to look their absolute best. You don’t have to be dressed to the nines, but planning matching outfits and looking sharp is just part of sweet, memorable family photos.
If you find matching family outfits borderline cheesy, there are lots of other options. You don’t have to match exactly, per se. You can simply carry through with an overall style or a summery look. Even if you just want some mommy-and-me photos with your daughter, seek out pretty clothes for girls and wear closely matching colors or accessories. You could also have dad do the same, dressing up sons in cute boy clothes that match.
#2 Use the Camera of Your Choice
From DSLRs to mirrorless cameras and even our phone’s cameras, you have lots of ways to take great family vacation photos. What you choose is entirely up to you and your comfort level with tech. However, it’s worth noting that a phone camera is just as impressive these days — not to mention they are a lot less bulky to pack.
#3 Bring a Tripod and Remote
Tripods come in handy for any photographer, holding the camera steady for a crisp shot. But when you need everyone in the family photo, they’re a must-have travel accessory. The tripod doesn’t have to be big and clunky. All it needs to do is support a camera or phone and set up the shot exactly how you want. You can find all kinds of travel-size tripods to get the job done.
One extra camera gear to consider is a Bluetooth remote or app that allows you to take the shot when your family is ready. You could use your camera’s timer, but you have to start it all over again if someone blinks. With a remote, you can continuously take as many shots as you want. Plus, it can control the camera shutter, too.
#4 Consider a Professional Photographer
A professional photographer can come in handy during a family vacation in several ways. For starters, they’re great for capturing the entire family (without, you know, a missing person who’s taking the picture).
Also, if you have an adventurous vacation planned with lots of excursions and activities, a professional photographer can let you enjoy your experience, too. Furthermore, they can offer insider knowledge of the city and suggest where to go for the best photos.
There are lots of ways to find a local photographer. Search hashtags on Instagram using the city name and the word “photographer.” From there, you can view their work and contact them via email or DM. Easy as that!
#5 Use the Burst Mode on Your Camera
If you are in a fast-paced environment (or just have some energetic kids), use the burst mode on your camera. This will help you capture a series of shots that you can later choose from. This works especially well when photographing wildlife on African safari vacations or for those underwater shots when snorkeling around lightning-fast fish. You might be able to direct your partner or kids to pose for a shot, but not an animal. With burst mode, you can also capture some pretty candid shots of goofy faces and expressions. Plus, you can whip out the camera at a moment’s notice without needing to set up and aim or coach the rest of your family on what to do to enhance a shot.
#6 Research Landmarks and Locations Ahead of Time
Before you take your family vacation, you’ll need to do some research on things to do and see. As you do so, collect some ideas of locations and landmarks that could make a fantastic backdrop for a family photo, whether it’s a sandy beach or a winding staircase. Sometimes, you can even find inspiration from Instagram (search for the exact destination’s hashtag), Pinterest or a magazine.
Besides locations and landmarks, seek out small touches that add character to the region, country and your family photos. Think English telephone booths, French bistros or a picnic in a famous local park.
As you research landmarks that make excellent backdrops for your family photos, find out when the peak and off-peak hours are and go when it’s less crowded. Trust us — it’ll save you tons of stress. Unfortunately, this often means waking everyone up early to beat the rush, but it’s well worth the shot. When planning a family photo, it also helps to determine when is the best lighting (the afternoon golden hour vs. morning).
#7 Remember to Capture the Cuisine
As you take family vacation photos, your first thought is to capture your family and the spectacular surroundings. But don’t forget to take some photos of the delicious cuisine you eat along the way. Whether it’s a pizza pie from a seaside restaurant along the Amalfi coast to crunchy tacos from a taco truck in Austin, Texas, capture your kids and spouse scarfing down bites and take overhead shots too. Food is just part of the journey and when you look back, it might even make you drool.
#8 Give Your Family Photos Post-Editing Treatments
Even professional photographers edit their photos to some degree. Don’t be afraid to touch up images, adding more contrast to blown-out images or lightening up dark indoor shots. When you take photos with smartphones, you can even adjust features like the blur in a portrait mode.
Luckily, you can use tons of excellent editing apps right on your iPhone or Android device. But if you prefer, you can touch them up in GooglePhotos or use presets from the pros.
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