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7 Photo tips for family vacations

Naomi de la Torre is freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom with two delightful boys, ages three and six. Naomi has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, is a self-proclaimed salsa diva, and can make a killer octopus ...

How to take great family vacation photos

Photography is magical. It allows us to capture treasured moments in time forever. But taking amazing photos isn’t always as easy as the click of a button. We’ve got some simple tricks and tips to make your family vacation photos more creative and memorable. Learn how.

woman setting up shot for photo

Tell a story

It's so much fun to go on vacation with children. Their natural joy is palpable and contagious. Take this opportunity to use your vacation photos to tell a story of your adventures together. Don’t just stage posed shots at every landmark you visit. Sometimes the best shots are the ones you never expected to take. One of the benefits of digital cameras is that you don’t have to worry about wasting film. So go camera crazy and take photos all day long. You are bound to get some priceless winners.

Go off-center

It’s a natural impulse when taking photos to center your shots in the middle of the frame. But if you are looking for something a little more dynamic, off-center photos are the way to go. For example, when your toddler is running through that gorgeous field of wildflowers, capture him wielding his little body through space slightly left or right of center. This adds to the feeling of movement and makes the photo more exciting. Experiment with off-center photos and you will see how this little trick gives such a boost to your photo compositions.

Want more pizazz in your pics? 10 Tips for taking memorable photos >>

Use natural light

Take your photos to the next level by playing with natural lighting. If you are taking photos outside, take advantage of early morning or the time right before sunset. The midday sun is very strong and will cause people to squint while highlighting unflattering wrinkles. Cloudy days also make great photo shoots because of the indirect sunlight. When taking photos indoors, consider using light from windows and lamps to brighten your shot instead of relying on the flash.

Notice the details

Capturing the essence of a moment isn't always about the big picture. Zoom in and focus on your child's hand holding a ladybug, his lips poised to blow a bubble or his chubby feet covered in sand. Depending on the angle of the sun, you can capture some interesting shadows to add depth your photos. If you are unsure what looks best for the photo you are trying to capture, move around your subject in a circle and find the best vantage point.

Discover more tips for photographing children >>

Follow the action

Don't be afraid to jump into the action! Some of the best shots are ones where your target is moving. A slight blur in the photo can make a moment leap off the paper and come alive. Take photos of your kids running along the beach, splashing in the water and playing sports in the sand.

Go natural

Photos of smiling children are adorable, but capturing your children when they are lost in thought or playing quietly on their own can be quite magical too. If you see a quiet moment you’d like to photograph, don’t call too much attention to yourself. Quietly sneak into the room and take as many frames as you can before you are noticed.

Take a peek at these fun family photo shoot ideas from Pinterest >>

Capture precious moments

Professional photography tips are a fun way to experiment, but remember that the most important thing is making memories. When all is said and done, it’s not important whether your photos have perfect composition or ideal lighting. What’s important is capturing sweet memories that will last your entire lifetime.

Family travel

Discover fun family destinations with our Family Travel Guide. From museums to amusement parks, we've got you covered. Summer awaits -- start planning your vacation now!

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