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Family Travel Photography Tips

family travel photo tips
It’s summer – which means it’s time for family vacations! I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips for taking better family travel photos. We have three young kids and can’t always get them to “stand still and smile.” I’ve learned some tricks along the way to capture those magical travel moments!

Here’s a list of my favorite equipment to bring with me on vacation! Because we have 3 (almost 4) kiddos, I try to keep it on the lighter side since we’re already packing so much! šŸ™‚ 
Camera – betcha couldn’t guess that one! I prefer to bring my “real camera” on vacation (yes, even to the beach!) Nothing beats those clean, crisp shots. But, if you have a nice camera on your phone, that works too! You can read about my favorite camera equipment HERE. If you’re just starting out I recommend a Canon Rebel and this $100 game-changer lens.

Tripod – if you want to get a few family shots and don’t have anyone else there to shoot for you, bring a tripod! You can get a tripod for your phone or tripod for DSLR camera and a remote. We’ve taken many family photos this way!

Photo Presets – This isn’t necessarily something to pack, but it’s great to have on your phone or computer in advance! Adding just a little editing to your photos will really make them pop! My favorite way to edit my photos are with presets – one click and you’re done. My favorite presets are the Jess Kettle presets – and you can get them for your phone or your computer. They work on photos from both your phone and your camera and add a nice, cohesive look to your pictures. 

A few of my favorite tips and tricks for taking travel photos with kiddos!

Prep ahead of time – Or in other words, warn your family when picture times are. šŸ™‚ I’ll typically have my camera on hand for candid shots during our trip, but if we’re planning for some family pictures at sunset, I have to make sure everyone knows beforehand what to expect. Typically for more “posed” or structured photo times, I’ll also bring along a bribe or treat. šŸ™‚ 
Give your kids direction – When I ask my kids to stand still and say “cheese!” I always end up with fake smiles and wacky poses. Instead, invite your kids to run as fast as they can through the waves or collect as many leaves as they can find and toss them in the air. You could also tell them to whisper a secret in their sibling’s ear or look at each other and see who can laugh the loudest! 

Tell a story – Every vacation has a story and I love taking photos to document it all. Try to think of your photos as a story – grab a few detail shots (like the baby cousins holding hands at nap!) and maybe a wide angle photo that shows the whole picture. Don’t forget about capturing different emotions as well. Kids grumpy after a long day at Disneyland? Snap a photo of that, too! You’ll laugh looking back at all the photos and emotions you captured during your trip. 

Get in the photo – Hand your camera over to your spouse, your kids, or a stranger and make sure you’re in some of the shots, too! Don’t worry too much about your salty beach hair or how you look in your swimsuit. Your kids will just be happy to see YOU when they look back at your family travel photos. 

Put the camera away – What?! I’m telling you to put the camera away? Yes! Take a few shots and then put it away. Shot not working out? Try again later. Turns out the worst pictures I take on our trips are when I’m trying to force my kids to stand still and smile. Ha! My kids respond better to the camera when it’s not out ALL day long. šŸ™‚ 

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Alexa Zurcher



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