5 Tips to Take Great Family Photos (While Traveling)

Written by @lewisfamcoast2ccoast

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Family photos are the ultimate keepsake. Time flies, and being able to look back on all the amazing memories made with our littles is something most of us cherish. But when it comes to traveling, capturing these moments can feel a little overwhelming: The crowds, the kids’ excitement (or lack of it), asking a stranger for help, or just remembering to take the picture. Here are a few tips to make this process a little smoother and never leave without that perfect shot!

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#1 Take photos first!

When I want posed family portraits while traveling and we’re in a new area I want to document, that’s when it’s hardest to pull the kids away from a fun activity or from exploring. If I know I want a picture in a specific area or with a specific backdrop, I’ll start with photos and use playing and exploring as a reward for getting them done quickly. 

Also, taking photos first thing in the day or after a meal when everyone is well-rested and no longer hungry makes for more pleasant attitudes. You’ll never leave a place with the regret of forgetting to take photos.


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#2 Follow The Best Advice From The Pros

Take pictures in batches. Snap a few in one location, play or have a snack, then take some more in another location. This gives time for the kids to “reset” their attitudes and their attention spans.

When choosing your spot for the family portraits, make sure to stay away from the crowd, so you can grab your shots without distractions. For busy areas especially, choose to arrive at times of the day where the crowd is more sparse. Did you know that early in the morning offers some of the best natural light to take pictures? 

Although investing in an expensive camera is absolutely not necessary to get quality photos, pros recommend investing in tools that will make your life easier, like a travel tripod or a remote. You will never have to gamble on that random stranger’s photography skills again!

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#3 Use Live Photo (for Apple devices) to find the best shot of everyone.

Odds are someone is either blinking, looking away or not smiling when we get the group together. But with Live Photo on, I can find everyone’s best moment and save it as the cover photo. For Android users, you can download the Google Motion Stills app for the same effect.

Besides allowing for more choices in stills, Live photos, since they are recorded in video format, are also perfect for creating social media montages like reels and stories.

Speaking of format, if you are an influencer or blogger, make sure to always capture your photos in both Vertical and Horizontal (landscape) format. With many companies and media looking at landscapes and social media platforms using verticals, this will allow for less editing later.

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#4 Candid Shots: Let the kids be kids

Posed photos can create posed smiles, but capturing moments of the kids doing what kids do best (usually playing, running, laughing, etc.) makes for genuine smiles. Ask the kids to run towards you, twirl, hug their sibling, or just let them be, and start snapping away. 

If your kids are eager to see the results in between each shot, tell them ahead of time that all the photos will stay in the phone, untouched, and involve them in the editing/selection process on your computer when you come back home or to the hotel. This allows for less interruptions and something to look forward to at the end of the day.

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#5 Let the kids be the photographers

Get them excited about taking pictures by letting them snap a couple of photos of you or the surroundings. 

Also, when you are taking their photo, ask them how they would like to pose or where they would like to stand. Take a few pictures, then suggest the pose or background you’d like to do. They will be more willing to participate if they feel like they are part of the creative process. And then let them see their work!

Most importantly, if you’re stressed about capturing the “perfect” shot, the kids will be stressed out, too. And if all else fails, bribery in the form of candy or ice cream is always a great motivator! 😉

Tell us below, in what country/city was your favorite family picture taken?

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Mom of 2, full-time traveler and influencer. She is an active Gowhee travel ambassador and her happy place is South Carolina.

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