Take great photos of your loved ones when you’re on a family trip is better than any souvenir, am I right?
But it can be challenging to take great family travel photos if you’ve got a wee one that’s eager to run off and explore his/her new surroundings. It can also be a challenge to get the perfectly lit photo, especially if you’re visiting a market or eating street food at a hawker court at night.
While I’m no well-known or super pro photographer, I wanted to share with you the three ways I’ve improved my own family travel photos, based off of the 7 years I’ve owned my DSLR
Shoot Outside As Often As Possible
Almost all of my best shots were taken outside in great lighting. Whether Kaya was playing on a beach in Rawai or in the snow in Tuscany, when I took her photo outside during the daytime, the lighting was good enough that I didn’t have to play around in Lightroom/Picmonkey most of the time, nor did I need a tripod or lighting kit.
I shoot outside as often as possible with my DSLR. When I am indoors and want to take a random shot or say my husband & daughter eating dinner at a restaurant, I’ll whip out my iPhone and use that instead. Why? I’ve found it much easier to carry around my phone than a tripod & DSLR ( obviously lol) and my iPhone 6 happens to take pretty good photos, even in low lighting. And if the photo is underexposed, it’s easy to edit it in apps like VSCOCam or Afterlight.
I’ve found that the best family travel photos ( and lifestyle pics) are typically taken at random times. This means that just like when you’re at home, a special moment will arise when your kids are playing or doing something funny that you’ll want to capture. But you won’t have long to take the shot, if it’s going to look natural. Have your camera ( or phone) with you as often as possible on your trip and be ready to take snaps throughout the day.
Shoot In Manual or Aperture Priority
If you’re shooting with a DSLR, I suggest trying to shoot in aperture priority or manual. There are several reasons for this. You will have more ability to control how your photos turn out, especially the lighting.
This will make things even easier when you’re taking family travel photos at night or indoors!
Resource: These guides from Photography Concentrate have really helped me shoot in manual
Give Your Little Ones A Camera
Children have the amazing ability to see things we don’t see, because of how creative and imaginative they are, as well as their size. My daughter took my all-time favorite travel photo when we were staying in Penang, which I printed and have a copy of in my room.
If your kids are too young to use a DSLR, I suggest giving them a disposable camera or buying an instant camera, like a Polaroid. The film can be pricey, so let your child know that they need to conserve film, if you get a Polaroid. The cool thing though about instant cameras is that most photos look good, as they have that vintage type feel. Encourage your kids to be creative photographers and to look for what sticks out to them on your travels as being noteworthy. Kaya photographs restaurant decor and food, and also loves to take pictures of animals. What does your child enjoy shooting?
When you’ve returned from your vacation and are thinking about what to do with your family travel photos, I suggest printing iPhone pics using a service like Parabo Print, Artifact Uprising, or Print Studio. I’ve printed pictures with all of those companies and like them all. Parabo is probably my favorite, and you can do some cool things with your family travel photos ( like print huge sizes or colourful risograph style). Print Studio has extra tiny size options, which our daughter loves.
Creating photobooks filled with your family travel photos is another option. We use Chatbooks and Nowvel to print photobooks. The former we have print our Instagram photos each month ( for only about 6 dollars) and the latter we give away to friends and family as Nowvel is an amazing quality photobook. For turning your DSLR photos into books, I suggest using Blurb or Artifact Uprising.
No matter where you’re going on your next trip, these easy to implement tips will help you improve your family travel photos, even if you’re just shooting with your iPhone. Remember that kids love being photographers too, and sometimes their pictures are even better than ours! They also love displaying their work, and with affordable printing apps and services, you can display them throughout your home when you get back from vacation.