Five tips for better family holiday photos
Family holidays are a great way to relax, slow down and spend quality time with the kids. Many treasured childhood memories are made on family holidays and the photos we take help to cement those memories for our children so they retain them as they grown up.
Your holiday photos become a little time capsule of your family life at that point in time.
They not only record the amazing places you visit but the details of your life... what the kids are wearing, how many teeth they have lost, what their interests are and the list goes on! When you look back on your holiday photos in years to come, you should be transported back to that time and remember not just the places and events, but what the days felt like at that time.
We all tend to have our camera's out more when we're away on holidays, so it's the perfect opportunity to capture all the memories, big and small.
Whatever kind of holiday your family enjoys and whatever kind of camera you own (even if it's only your phone!) here are five ways you can elevate your next holiday photos from a happy snap to something more meaningful.
1. Capture a moment instead asking for smiles
I don't know about your kids but mine don't have a lot of patience when I ask them to stop and smile for me (or perhaps that's just the result of being a photographer's child!) Either way, they are usually absorbed in the moment or doing something they're enjoying and the last thing they want to do is stop and bung on a smile so I can take a photo!
Smiling shots do have their place but capturing the action as it's happening creates more memorable holiday photos for two reasons:
Your kids are naturally at ease and being themselves which means you capture genuine reactions, emotions and expressions.
You capture a more authentic and realistic record of your experience. You will come home with memories of not just where you went and what you saw but how it felt, how your children interact, play and muck about together right now, their quirky little facial expressions and mannerisms that come and go so quickly as they grow up.
2. Experiment with angles
It's easy to fall into the trap of taking all your photos from the same perspective you view life at; your own eye level. Create photos that tell a more interesting story by thinking about varying your camera angle. Try getting down on the same level as your kids are playing so your photo draws us into their world.
In the photo below I loved the shadows the overhead trees were making on the ground where Alex was playing with his cousin so I shot from above so they were part of the composition.
By getting down low and putting my camera on the ground I was able to silhouette Alex against the sky as he played.
3. Include surroundings to tell the whole story
Pull back and include the surroundings to help tell the story when you look back at your photos in years to come and give your photos more meaning.
Instead of zooming straight into your subject so they fill the frame take a moment to think about:
What you are trying to remember or record by taking the photo
Is there anything in the surrounding area that you could include that would help give your photo more meaning
In the photo below I could have taken a close up image of the kids sitting together at the lake but by pulling back and including the bikes casually discarded in the foreground it tells a stronger story of carefree summer days and really captures the mood of the trip.
Including both Alex and the rainy window here tells a more meaningful story instead of taking a photo of either just Alex snuggled in bed or just the rainy window.
4. Adjust your position for even light
Many of our holiday snaps are taken in the middle of the day in full sun, one of the most challenging times to shoot in, even for pro photographers! One thing that makes happy snaps look like a happy snap is uneven lighting. We all have plenty of photos of our children where parts of their face is in shade and other parts are in full sun. We also have plenty where the kid's are squinting into the sun or where their eyes are in deep shadow from their brow line casting a shadow from the overhead sun.
To avoid the unflattering shadows and evenly light your subject look at where their shadow is falling on the ground. Simply position yourself so you are taking the photo with that shadow falling in front of them. This places the sun behind them so avoids squinting and ensures that their face will be evenly lit with no shadows, instantly elevating your happy snaps to the next level.
5. Remember the little things
There are so many seemingly insignificant little things that we don't think to take a photo of and record when we are on holiday because we are too busy taking photos of the big things; the new places being discovered and adventures being had! But it's the little things that are easily forgotten if we don't have any photos to remind us of them and in years to come it's these little things that bring back special memories and transport us back to a moment in time.
When I look back on these photos I'll remember how hard it is for a 7 year old to choose an ice cream flavour, his constantly grubby fingrnails from all his little boy adventures, dusty feet and scratched up legs that come from being more adventurous on his bike and my daughter still not afraid to get her hands dirty in pursuit of treasure,
I hope you try some of these tips for your next family holiday or day trip away and when you've captured your memories think about printing them into an album so they can be easily looked at again and again.
With a little extra thought we can create a beautiful time capsule of these times in our lives that our children will adore looking back through, helping them and us hold on to the holiday memories and what life once felt like here and now.