Among the numerous articles about travel photography comes a necessary, yet rarely addressed topic: travel photography that includes your little ones. It’s not very often that parents are able to travel without their kids, and what’s a vacation without photos? If you are struggling to properly capture the essence of your kid-filled experience, then here are a few tips for your next trip with the family.
Less Glam, More Honest
Let’s be honest. Traveling with kids can go from happy faces to complete disaster in seconds — we’ve all been there. One moment the little ones are all smiles and giggles, and the next someone is crying and the other one is throwing a fit. If all you hope to capture with your phone or camera are the pure and cheerful moments, then your photos might be in short supply on some days.
Half of the fun of traveling with kids are the unexpected moments that come with them. Many times they are experiencing “firsts” along the way, and that is really fun for them and for you. Snag a shot of their first time in an airport, train station, or bus stop. Chances are, they look adorable with their little backpacks and mouths open in awe. These are fun photos for you and your kids to look back on and smile at. Some of the best pictures taken often come with a story. When describing to a friend or family member, they are followed by a “that was right before” or “this is funny because.” Staged photos don’t have that same effect on our memory.
The Whole Family
If you are traveling with all of your immediate family, it can be hard to get a lot of group shots of everyone: mom, dad, and kids. Often times, you arrive back home to find that you only got one photo of the entire gang. If your camera or phone doesn’t have a timer, or there is no good spot to rest the camera, be brave and ask someone to take a photo of everyone. Think about times that others have asked you to get a solid group shot of them. You probably didn’t mind one bit and were happy to help out. People are often more friendly than they seem, and willing to be of service for a few seconds. Doing this is so beneficial when looking back and being able to see everyone that was included in the trip.
Trying to get children to cooperate and sit in the light often works about as well as baptizing a cat. They’re hot, they’re hungry, and boy are they wiggly. Don’t panic. It’s amazing the quality of photographs that come out of letting your kid just do their thing. At the beach in Hawaii? Smiling and sandy shots are available in abundance. Baby’s first ski trip? Photos of the kid falling and rolling around in their little boots on the soft snow are far cuter and memorable photos than a still shot of them standing at the top, prim and proper. Candid shots are getting more and more popular and for good reason. No one looks good from every angle at all times and your kids are no exception—they just don’t care. They are happy to do what they do best: play. Capturing the magic from that is up to you.
As parents, all photos of your kids are valuable and bring a smile to your face. You don’t have to be at the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset in the spring to capture the fun and magic of a family vacation. Babies sound asleep on hour five of the road trip, munching on peanuts on their first plane ride, or splashing in the waves on a new beach are all moments worth capturing.
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Happy memory making and safe travels!