Vacation Photography

Tips for Photographers with Families

Author: Emily Lowrey

If you’re a photographer, it can be a real challenge to balance your time when you’re on vacation. There’s so much to see, it can be so tempting to snap away from morning till night squeezing in some vacation photography.

But unless you’re on a photography vacation specifically, this might not always be practical. You might be with friends or family who aren’t into photography as much as you are, or perhaps have younger children who need looking after.

We have to remember that family vacations are all about spending quality time together first and foremost, and not just looking through a lens. So here are some different methods for getting all the wonderful photographs you want without taking over a vacation!

holiday photography example image 1
holiday photography example image 2
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Lighting is Everything (pick your times wisely)

The most important thing to remember is that lighting makes or breaks your photography. When choosing your camera time, choose very wisely. A great method is to photograph mostly around golden hours (sunset and sunrise) and then focus less on your camera in the middle of the day.

You could arrange your days so that you are at beautiful locations for sunset, and you might even be able to go out alone for sunrise if your family aren’t early risers.

Holiday Photography Example 1

Image by Emily Lowrey (iPhotography Tutor)

Sunrise on mountains

Image by Emily Lowrey (iPhotography Tutor)

This is a great way to compromise with family to practise your vacation photography. You could explain that these times of day are the times you’ll focus on your photography, and the rest of the time your camera will either be away or used sparingly. When you focus on these two times of day, the photos you take will have fantastic lighting, and you can be 100% ‘in the moment’ for the rest of the day.

The challenge with this method is that you might be in some really interesting places during the middle of the day! It might not be a matter of completely putting your camera away the rest of the time, but instead taking quicker photos throughout the day knowing you can really indulge in your photography at sunset.

Work in Time Every Other Day

Another way to compromise is to only be camera-mad every other day of the vacation. This way your family/friends know they’ll get 100% of your attention every other day!

For example, you could plan a theme park/water park/beach day on your “off” day, and have a great time with your family, and then plan a trip to the local town or a nature walk on your photography day. 

You just might stop more frequently when something catches your eye, or stay in one particular spot for an hour during sunset. This method is a great way to make the most of your vacation photography time without it taking over too much.

Image by Emily Lowrey (iPhotography Tutor)

Involve Your Family & Friends

Whether your loved ones have a camera or not, it can be fun to try to teach them some photography tips and tricks.

They can use their camera phones if they don’t have their own camera.

On a nature walk, or when there is a scenic view, you could give a few pointers and involved your loved ones in your favourite hobby. You never know, they might find a love for it too and your next vacation might be full of photography walks.

Another way to involve your family is to make them your models. Even if they’re not into photography, they might appreciate some lovely photos of themselves in cool places!

You could even set your tripod and join in for a memorable group photo with them.

Image by Emily Lowrey (iPhotography Tutor)

Little and Often

Let’s face it, as photographers, we often get the most joy when we’re documenting our own lives and experiences. There’s no shame in being passionate about photography, and wanting to get the most out of a vacation yourself.

Take your camera with you everywhere, but try to be very selective in what you shoot. The quickest way to annoy your loved ones is to shoot wildly at everything and anything you see for hours on end. Try to choose your compositions with care. Make every photo count with your vacation photography.

A good method is to imagine you only have a small number of photos per day, as though you were using a film camera and only have one film. When you think in this way you will soon take care with how you “use” your frames!

USA Desert Rocky Monuments Holiday Photography

Image by Emily Lowrey (iPhotography Tutor)

USA Desert Rocky Monuments Holiday Photography

Image by Emily Lowrey (iPhotography Tutor)

Also consider your lens choices: which might be the most convenient for your environment? If you choose a general “walk-about” lens, that covers a wide range of focal lengths (a zoom lens), you won’t need to waste any time swapping your lenses.

Explain to your loved ones that this is something you really enjoy, and it’ll also be a brilliant way for them to remember the vacation as well! You’re documenting not only your own experiences but theirs as well. You might be on hand to capture that perfect smile or that most memorable moment that will only ever happen once. Photography is a beautiful thing.

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful! Remember to share your best vacation moments with us on the iPhotography gallery!

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