5 Tips to Enjoy Photographing Your Next Family Vacation

Traveling is my absolute favorite thing!  I love to go on any kind of trip, I'm not picky.  Long weekend getaways, day trips, road trips, family vacations, staycation, I love them all.  And, if you go on vacation and don't take pictures, did it really happen?  I think not!  

Seriously though, taking photos of your trips is part of the fun.  Photographs are our memory keepers, our heirlooms, our triggers.  Looking at a photo can help bring back all the emotions of that day, the whole vacation, or even that time in your life. Photographs can help us remember what we may have forgotten or overlooked.  Photographs are not only visual reminders of times past, but they bring back so much more.  They help us remember how we felt, how the grass smelled, what we ate, even how we felt when we woke up that day.  

Yes, photographs are powerful.  It's important to document life.  Not just the fun, beautiful moments, but the ordinary days too.  But, that's for another post.  Today, let's talk about how you can document your family vacations.  We work hard for that time off from work.  We plan, we save, we sacrifice, all so we can spend a week or so away from our routine.  To spend time with the ones we love and maybe show them something new or go back to a place you love.  Documenting family vacations through photographs can be tricky.  We don't want to spend our entire time behind the lens and miss out on the fun and/or not be in any of the pictures. But, we don't want to forget to take any pictures and get back home and regret not having taken photos to remember all the fun you had.  So, here are a few tips to help you balance out having awesome family pictures and enjoy your vacation too.  

1.  Have a Plan!  I'm big on planning and making itineraries, but I've come to learn that with kids we need to be flexible.  So have a loose plan of things to do and then figure out where picture-taking is going to be a must!  Obviously, if you're going sight seeing or to the zoo, you'll want to plan on taking your camera with you all day.  But, if you're going to be relaxing by the pool, then you won't need your camera there, at least not the entire time.  

2.  Use your timer setting!  This works great for those fun and cheezy family photo ops and ensures everyone gets in the shot!  We don't travel with a tripod, but there's usually a spot where we can set the camera up safely to get our photo.  

3.  It's about the people!  Here's a pet peeve of mine.  When people take tons of pictures of the Disney parade or the zoo animals, but hardly any photos of the family members.  I get it.  We all get caught up in the details and yes, the penguins are super cute, but at the end of the day, our family is what matters most.  Don't forget who is there with you.  Take tons of photos of your kids playing, interacting, and having fun.  A few scenery and animal shots are fine, but you want to capture your family in that space too.  A photo of the Golden Gate Bride is awesome, but a photo of your kiddos walking on the Golden Gate Bride is even cooler!  I'm sure you'll think so too years after the vacation is over. 

4.  Share the camera!  Don't be afraid to share the camera with your spouse, even if you are the better photographer ;) Depending on the age of your kiddos, you can even let them take a photo or two!  This will give you a different perspective and views from your trip, you'll actually get to be in some of the photos, and enjoy the day or activity without worrying about taking pictures.

5.  Know your camera! I can't stress this enough.  Even if you prefer to shoot on auto-mode (which is totally fine!) It's good to learn your camera settings.  Play around with the various settings and functions prior to your trip, so you aren't dealing with camera malfunctions or blurry photos due to "user error".   

BONUS:  Have Fun! Don't feel stressed our pressured into taking perfectly composed images during your family trip.  I used to do this and it took the joy out of it sometimes.  I had to learn to leave my "job" behind me and be a mom and enjoy my vacation.  So, now we don't even take our big DSLR cameras on most of our family trips.  I will take my DSLR for some trips, but 80% of the time we simply pack our Fuji X100s digital viewfinder camera and that's it!  The camera is small, lightweight, but does a great job for capturing our family vacation snapshots.  Of course, we also take tons of photos with our iPhones too!  Come follow along on Instagram ;)  

I sure hope these simple and easy tips help you when taking photos during next family vacation.  Do you have any tips you'd like to share with me too?  When's your next trip?