The first rule of photography during family travel is kids, kids, kids. The scenery is just the backdrop for your family’s adventures, and those are what you want to capture. Shoot the beautiful scenery, of course, but be sure you also catch it with people.
In wide scenes, try to place them off center in the foreground and not posed rigidly, but maybe in profile looking at the view. For closer shots, try to get your children engaging with the subject. Nothing makes a more memorable travel photo than kids doing things — inspecting a grasshopper, riding a carousel, eating ice cream.
Record them taking selfies, looking up in wonder at a redwood tree, walking on a trail, sampling a new food or engaging with local kids. Record kids doing things, not just standing in front of a landmark; let the destination be the background.
Of course, you don’t want your pictures to be only of the family. Go ahead and shoot the spectacular scenery, the straight-up view of the Eiffel Tower, fun angles of the Colosseum or the sunset from Taormina. Don’t miss those perfect cover shots. But then look at the scene again and think of ways to get your family into it. Not in the center of a static image, but rather as part of the scene.
A few basics of composition are good to know, too. Think in thirds: Frame a scene and move the frame to the left or right until the person or the primary object is to one side of center, at about one-third of the scene. Light source is also important, so be careful to have the light on the subject, not behind it. If you need to shoot with the light behind the subject, try moving to angle it slightly so you’re not facing the sun or light source directly.
Lastly, concentrate on taking pictures your family will treasure as memories of their trip, not what photos your friends will like best on Instagram. Take a vacation from social media, too.
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