1. Lighting is key: This is true for any type of photography, whether it is on your phone or an SLR camera. Finding good light will make or break an image. In my opinion, natural light is the best, especially when traveling. The only time I would say otherwise is if you are in a dark or dimly lit location such as a restaurant or historic building. Then use your off-camera flash (attachment) and don’t point the light at your children directly; bounce it off the ceiling or wall for a more natural look.
Pro Tip: If you do not have an off-camera flash you can take a white business card or
note card and use a rubber band to tie around your on-camera flash facing it up. This will bounce the light from the flash upward and is a very cheap alternative to an off-camera flash. The difference in your lighting will blow your mind!
2. Rule of thirds: This is a basic photography (or artistic composition) rule that everyone should try to follow. Envision the image as a grid of three lines of three rectangles (some cameras even have the option to show a grid in your viewfinder). The focus or subject of the image should always be in two-thirds of the grid. See examples below:
3. Don’t try TOO hard: The best photos are the ones where you capture the moment! Things like your children taking in an epic view, experiencing new food for the first time, and all the awesome moments of your travels and family adventures. Try not to pose them too often and just capture the magic as it happens. Sure, making sure the light and background are good is important, but once you have them where you want them, start snapping!
4. Get high and get low: Try different angles to shoot from. You will be surprised how different a photo will look when shot from up high or if you get down low (at the child’s level) and shoot. This will take your photos from typical to incredible with just one easy adjustment. Stand on a chair or ledge, sit down or even lie down on the ground.
5. Plan ahead and coordinate your outfits with the location: This is something I’ve learned over time. Make sure to scout or Internet stalk the places you plan on visiting. Identify where you want to take photos and make sure when you pack for your children that you are picking things that will vibe with the look of your location. This will also make you more prepared when you arrive. Having a game plan is key to taking great photos of your kids while traveling.
If you want a packing tip that will change your life, read our blog on packing cubes: HERE
6. Pay Attention to what’s behind them: When shooting make sure you are paying attention to what’s in the background behind your subject. If they are standing in front of a large pole, make sure it does not appear to be coming out of their head! On the beach, I’m always running into the problem of other people bending over in the background to pick up shells, no matter how early I wake up to take photos! So just be aware of everything in the picture and if you can adjust your angle or move to a better spot, then do it. There is nothing worse than an awesome picture of all four kids smiling only to see that it looks like they have a stop sign growing out of their heads!
There are so many more things you can do to take better photos, but these six simple tips will make an immediate impact on the quality of your family travel photography. Most importantly, enjoy your trip and snap away!