5 Tips For Summer Vacation Photography

A few years ago, I started making a book for my kids of the photos I took on summer vacation. They treasure them and frequently pull them out to reminisce or show friends.

I realized that not only is it important to take those vacations and make family memories, but it’s equally important to document them. These visual reminders do a great job of keeping the memories fresh and alive.

Here are five tips for summer vacation photography that will tell a beautiful story of the memories that were made!

1. Stand back and capture the panoramic view.

A wise photographer once told me to do this and then go in closer and closer. It’s probably the best advice I’ve ever received. I like to get in close, but so much can be missed if you don’t get the full view. Part of the reason I love the photo below is not only because it captures my boy throwing rocks but also because you see the vastness of the ocean in comparison.

Throwing Rocks

2. Hand a camera to the kids so they can capture what they see.

This is one of my favorite things to do, because it’s so interesting to see what the world looks like through their eyes. If your kids are too young to be trusted with a camera, then get down on their level and photograph from there.

Kid Photography

3. Take advantage of the sun and the golden hour.If you haven’t heard this expression before, the golden hour (the first and last hour of sunlight during the day) is the most beautiful time of day for photography. However, vacation can’t stop and start for the golden hour, so working with the sun is key. I like to place my subjects with the sun to their back. Not only will this avoid squinty eyes but you’ll get a nice backlight behind them. To get a beautiful effect, you’ll have to switch your camera to manual mode and adjust the light meter.

Glowing Backlight

4. Make sure people are in your photos, including YOU! Because I’m a photographer, I often forget to get behind the camera. To tell the full story of summer vacation, there needs to be photos of you, too! I try to remember to hand the camera to my husband sometimes, do the awkward, “Let’s all get together and I’ll try to fit us in the frame” shot, or hand my camera to a stranger and ask them to take our photo. You might get less than perfect shots, but you’ll be glad to have those memories.

Family Photo

5. Look for those moments that stand out. Last year we took our kids to FAO Schwartz in New York City. The FAO Schweetz section of the store absolutely blew my kids away. I captured lots of photos of the candy so they could remember how big it was! They love showing their friends those photos, and I love that we have that visual memory!

Big Lollipop

I hope these photography tips are helpful for telling the visual story of memories made on summer vacation. Be sure to have fun, and don’t be afraid to set the camera down for a while and enjoy just being with your family! After all, children and family are gifts from God that should be treasured always!

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, 
The fruit of the womb is a reward. 
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, 
So are the children of one’s youth. 
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Psalms 127:4-5

Your Turn

Parents, I find that creating memories with my kids instills deeper family bonds. What are some of your favorite vacation memories? How did you document them and keep those memories alive? I love the My Faith Journal to encourage kids to write about their encounters with God on their adventures!