As the photographer in your family, you’re probably quite used to your loved ones tutting behind you, hurrying you along while you explore every inch of a scene with your camera. And it’s even worse on holidays. We know. But we can also tell you that combining a family holiday with quality time with your camera doesn’t have to be a disaster!
Will you come home with an award-winning portfolio of images? Probably not. But here are seven simple ways to incorporate some satisfying travel photography into your family holiday without upsetting your loved ones…
Travel photography tips for a family holiday
1. Lower your expectations
Probably the most important on this list. Scale down your expectations. This isn’t one of your usual shoots, and making your family wait hours as you drag them around and explore every angle will just breed frustration on everyone’s part.
Remember: it’s their holiday just as much as yours, so be flexible. Don’t expect to shoot every sunset or landmark or smiling local. Photograph the one that really grabs you, but make sure you spend the rest of your time with your family.
2. Get the kids involved
The best way get more time for your travel photography? Get your family engaged! Children love buttons and taking pictures, so why not combine quality family time with your photography. Pack a spare compact camera if you have one, or buy a couple disposable cameras. Take them out with you in search of great pictures. They’ll love it!
3. Wake up early
We know. It’s tough. A holiday is meant to be relaxing and alarm-free, but try peeling yourself off your pillow and heading out at dawn at least one day of your trip. For starters, you’ll catch the best light doing this, but your family will also still be asleep giving you more time to explore those angles and capture a city as it comes to life. And if you bring back breakfast you’ll win some serious brownie points!
4. Take a casual approach
While all of your gear is important, let’s face it: it’s not always vital. Leave your tripod at the hotel. Keep your flashgun in your camera bag. Take a more casual approach to your travel photography. It’s hard to know you may miss a great picture, but it’s also important not to miss those family memories because you were too busy setting up your gear. If your family portraits look more like snapshots, that’s OK!
5. Be conscious of others
This is another key one. Remember that your family is very often waiting patiently for you to frame the perfect shot or explore another angle. They accommodate your travel photography because they know it’s your passion. Likewise, give those in your family the opportunity to indulge in their passions and the favour will be returned.
Also, remember to pay attention to their moods. Holidays are tiring! If your family wants a rest after walking around all day, suggest they go back to the hotel and relax while you go exploring with your camera.
6. Limit your shots
How many times have you stood there trying to coax a better smile out of your kids, and the result is they just grow more distracted and bored? Pretty much all the time? Us, too.
When you do stop and take pictures of your family, try limiting yourself to two frames and if you don’t get what you were hoping for just hope for better luck next time. You don’t want to turn family photos into a lengthy event or they will quickly lose interest. Get an idea of what you want to shoot in advance so you can set them up and take them quickly. Everyone will be much happier.
7. Have fun
It sounds obvious, but it’s something we photographers often forget! Sometimes we get too caught up in perfection and having the right gear to cover every possibility that we stop having fun. Is it really fun lugging a tripod for 12 hours? You don’t have to do it! Your heavy DSLR? Leave it at home! We won’t tell your photographer friends.
A family holiday is a time to let your hair down, so why not get truly creative and go back to basics. Ditch the DSLR and see if your phone offers you more freedom to simply compose from unusual viewpoints or capture fleeting moments. You might find you like it!