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5 Travel Photography Tips for Parents

Marianne Stenger
8th July 2019

What do you do when you love travel and photography, but also have young kids to keep happy and entertained while you do it? Although travelling with kids can make finding time for photography a bit more challenging, it can also greatly enrich your travel experience.

A child’s excitement over new activities, cute animals or stunning views can be undeniably contagious. Travelling with children means you’ll be able to view your destination through their eyes, and your photography can benefit from this fresh perspective too.

If you have a trip coming up and want to make sure you enjoy your time together as a family while still finding time for photography, here are our travel photography tips for parents.

1. Pack light and travel comfortably

Photo Credit: ©jen.luana on Instagram

Packing light is always a good idea when it comes to travel photography, but it’s particularly important when you’re travelling with kids. As a parent you’ll be dealing with things like carriers or slings and extra bags filled with snacks, diapers or changes of clothes, so the last thing you want is to be weighed down by photography gear that you may not even use.

Lightweight zoom lenses are a good option for family travel photography, because you’ll be able to shoot portraits and landscapes and everything in between, without carrying multiple interchangeable lenses. A lightweight collapsible tripod is also a good idea, because it’s easy to pack away when not in use, and will come in handy for lowlight and landscape photography as well as group self-portraits.

Tackling activities like sightseeing or hiking with kids can be a lot of fun, but if you’re accustomed to trekking to remote locations for your photography, you may need to adjust your strategy to make sure everyone will be happy and comfortable. For instance, rather than hiking for hours to reach a particular photography location, you may need to drive most of the way and only walk the last mile or so

2. Get the whole family involved

Photo Credit: ©the_global_wizards on Instagram

Even if taking photos is something you normally do alone, when travelling as a family it’s important to adjust your approach and find a way to involve everyone.

Kids will quickly become bored and unmanageable if you’re paying more attention to your camera than you are to them, so try to make your photography more of a group activity. Some examples of how to do this include having them pose for photos in front of landmarks of their choosing, asking them to provide suggestions for what you should photograph next, and periodically showing them some of the photos you’ve taken to get their opinion. 

3. Give kids their own camera

Photo Credit: ©izzagavray on Instagram

If your kids are already a bit older, another way to involve them in your favourite pastime is to give them their very own camera to experiment with. The camera doesn’t have to be fancy; it could be anything from a basic point and shoot camera to your old DSLR with a kit lens.

Kids will appreciate what you’re doing a lot more once they’ve had a chance to experience it for themselves. You might be surprised how quickly a child can go from being bored while they wait for you to finish taking pictures to actively joining you in finding the perfect angles and lighting.

You can even make up little photography assignments to keep them engaged. For instance, you could ask them to photograph as many things as they can find that are a particular colour, such as green or blue. Or you could ask them to take photos that tell the story of their holiday and then help them turn these photos into a simple photo book once you return home.

4. Get up with the sun

Photo Credit: ©flashpacking_family on Instagram. Full blog here

If there are things you’d like to photograph but find it difficult to do so with kids in tow, see if you can head out with your camera early in the morning while the kids are still fast asleep or enjoying their breakfast. Early mornings also happen to be the best time of day for photography, because the light is soft and golden, and there are generally fewer tourists around.

Of course, this will only work if you’re travelling with another adult who is willing to stay back with the kids while you slip out with your camera. But it’s definitely worth trying to plan at least one or two mornings during your holiday where you get up before the sun rises and photograph some of your own favourite things.

5. Keep your travel plans flexible

Photo Credit: ©herewegoagain.blog on Instagram

The most important thing to remember when travelling with kids is that things probably won’t go entirely according to plan. Someone might unexpectedly feel sick or tired, you might come across a better route, or you might discover a fun activity you were previously unaware of. With this in mind, it’s always best to go into your holidays with an open mind and be as flexible as possible with your travel plans.

Of course, there are also times when planning ahead can help things run more smoothly. For instance, if you have an important photo shoot you’d like to fit in, planning it for a time when you know the kids will be well-rested and well-fed will give you more time to shoot before they start feeling tired, bored or hungry.

So while planning some activities or outings in advance can be helpful, it’s also important to be prepared to go with the flow and adjust your plans if circumstances change.

Photo Credit: ©ourkellytribe on Instagram

Would you like to turn your favourite holiday snaps into a photo book and commemorate your most recent family holiday? Check out our tips and ideas for designing a holiday photo book or find out more about the different types of photo books we offer.