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10 Tips for the Best Travel Photos with Kids

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

Whenever we go on vacation, I always take 10x more photos than usual. However, I try my best to keep things as normal as possible. I don’t want to be THAT obnoxious mom with a camera. (I already am… but still, there is a balance!) I want the girls to WANT to be in the photos.

The trick to taking travel photos is to take enough to accurately document the trip, but not so many as to ruin and miss the moments. It shouldn’t be a zillion photoshoots (although I have my moments *ahem* sunset *ahem*), just a couple photos here and there.

Travel Photo Tips:

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

1. Leave your camera behind the first trip to the beach.

I don’t want to say I always do this. But I either leave it behind the first or second trip to the beach. We have a vacation routine and literally go to the beach every morning. As much as I want to document, I also want to be present in the midst of the excitement. This allows me that chance. Plus you don’t need to take the same photos EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every other day is ample lol…

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

2. Take a moment to enjoy the sunset.

RELATED: Beach Sunset Portraits! Tips for the Best Composition! and Manual Tricks for Better Beach Sunset Portraits!

I take my camera out to every single sunset. This is my favorite time on the beach! The light and the colors are different every single time. And there isn’t always a sunset every night. Since the light changes so fast every second, it’s also a limited time for photos.

My family knows, that if we go out for a sunset, I am taking my camera. That being said, I think everyone loves it because everyone has gotten a photo out of it at one point or another.

However, I don’t want to forget while I’m out there. So even though I spend the majority of the sunset looking at the camera, I always put it away when the sun touches the water and Anabelle and I count down from 10 about 5 times! It’s our little tradition that I love just as much as the photos!

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

3. Don’t photograph your food.

I know there are exceptions, but this is just a personal rule. My husband has always been very tolerant of my love for photography, but this one always annoyed my him… And I realized that I really didn’t care that much. So meals are one of the few times I keep my camera away, like I do my phone, and I just enjoy the company. Now if we happen to have perfect lighting like I did at this smoothie bowl place then of course (Anabelle looked so pretty and this is one of my Grandpa’s favorite places we go!), make an exception, but then put your camera back.

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

4. Don’t forget the simple everyday.

Sometimes we only think to capture the exciting outings and things we don’t do while at home, such as beach trips, field trips, outings, etc. But don’t forget the ordinary moments too!

I studied in Spain for a semester while I was in college. I took so many photos of the exciting things we saw, our nights out and our weekend trips. But the day before I left I walked the path that I walked everyday to class and took pictures of the places I stopped. That overcrowded cafe in the Universidad, the moat, and all the little things I started to take for granted because they had become ordinary.

I couldn’t believe I waited till the very end of my trip. Ever since then, I’ve tried to remember to capture the ordinary, because sometimes they are more special than the extraordinary.

How to take the best travel photos with kids on your next vacation

5. Make the tripod fun.

RELATED: How to Get in Front of the Camera with your Kids

My last trip to Florida, I pulled out my tripod three times. And those photos are three of our favorite photos from our trip! It took me a while to get everything set up, but everyone just did what they wanted till I said I was ready, and then we spent maaaaybe 5 minutes taking the photos.

We just had fun with it! One was posed, one we were dressed up for Sunday Mass a figured we may as well, and then of course we wanted one on the beach. We didn’t overdo it. They were strategic and covered pretty much our favorite vacation activities!

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

6. Make sure to photograph everyone.

Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away just photographing the kids, but make sure to capture everyone. Who are you vacationing with? Get your husband AND yourself in photos! Get your relatives. Don’t accidentally leave someone out even if it isn’t the perfect “instagram” moment.

This does not mean you need to go overboard, but just remember to get one or two photos of everyone!

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

7. Observe your surroundings.

RELATED: Indoor Photography Tips

When we went to the aquarium, of course my first instinct is to start taking photos right away. However, whenever I am in public, I like to wander first. I wander, I observe my surroundings, and when I have ideal light, THEN I whip out the camera. At the aquarium, there was an outdoor portion. I later tried to get some indoor photos right before we left, but because of the ideal light in this section, these are my keeper photos!

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

8. Be prepared.

I like to use an insert for my purse so that I have my camera with me “just in case!” That doesn’t mean I pull it out every single place we go, but in the picture perfect moments, I’m sure I have it!

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

9. Take an extra step back.

Instead of taking one for your photo book or frame or however you print, one for Instagram that you can crop into a square, and then one on your phone for Facebook, just take one photo period. Take a couple steps back so that you have room to crop it into a square, and then don’t worry about posting right away. Chance are, you are with your family. Wait till you have downtime (nap time is my downtime), download your photos and then share without interrupting quality time, or hassling everybody for 10 versions of the same thing.

Travel photo tips with your kids for your next vacation

10. Don’t force it.

This is key to keeping everyone enjoying the photos.

Don’t force it. If your family is just in the mood for candid, keep it candid.

If they are smiling and cooperative then capture them smiling for the camera.

If they don’t want to be photographed, then capture a couple from behind or just put the camera away till next time!

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  • Kakashi Channel

    How did you get your color so vibrant? if you do not mind sharing with me. I took many photography before with Canon 20D, even I bump up the saturation, color still not that vibrant. Unless I bring into Photoshop, but I still have problems how to control certain colors.

    • I edited all of these photos in Photoshop where I make the colors more vibrant. I usually add a little extra color in ACR and then sometimes add extra saturation or vibrance once it opens in Photoshop depending on the photo! I tend to like the vibrance option better than saturation because it looks more real to me…

  • These are SO good! Can you come with us on our next vacation to take pics?! 😉 Great tips. I really like the one about making sure to photograph everyone. I’m bad at only getting my kids and usually end up with none of me and Noel!

    • Hahaha thanks 🙂 I always remember me and Kevin but I almost forget anybody else we are with! So the last day I’m usually whipping out my camera lol

  • It is the best isn’t it!! She’s hysterical lol

  • Love these pics! Can’t agree with “Don’t photograph your food” statement – for some people, one of the main reasons for traveling is to try exotic dishes, photos might be interesting for them. Nevertheless, the article is still awesome.