10 Tips for Phenomenal Travel Photos with Little Ones

Every trip has a story behind the photos, so why not tell your story well, making sure you include your kid's point of view. After living abroad for several years and during each of my daughter's entire childhood so far, my husband and I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way to document all of our family travels and I'm so excited to share those with you today!

1.  Get on a Kid's Level: 
People often take pictures from their own eye-level, but getting down on the same level as your child can give you a whole new perspective that will make your photos stand out.  It also helps you tell the story of their travels, because it shows you how they saw the sights. Crouching down low captures a more natural stance, pose, and position of your kiddos. The entire perspective of the “sight” is changed by looking at it from a kid's eye view.

Baby girl enjoying the haystacks at a German Pumpkin Festival

2.  Embrace the Morning: 
When traveling and out of routine, small kids tend to get over-stimulated quite easily, so take advantage of the morning for some quick photos. If your kids are like mine, when they are not sleeping in their own bed, they are very early risers, so we use this to our advantage.  Plus, the crowds aren’t out in full force in the wee hours of the morning, and the morning light adds a little novelty to the picture.

3.  Capture the Moment:
Go with the flow and embrace non-posed shots. Let the kids run the show, because candid shots actually tell the story of your travels much better than posey-poses. They capture the essence of what is really going and let the personality of the kids shine through, because kids are most expressive when they are just being kids. After all, you are on vacation to have fun, so let go of the preconceived Pinterest photo and embrace your kids as they enjoying each moment.

Turning a loaf of bread into a microphone at a picnic on the lawn of the Eifel Tower

4.  Think Colors and Textures: 
What you wear in a photo can make a world of difference in the end result. Busy patterns don’t go so well in travel photos as more often than not, the picture has lots more happening in the background than just a plain ole’ portrait. Think solid colors that compliment a busy background, and the key ingredient is adding a little texture from an accessory, like a hat or bow (well, at least that works well for my kids since they are girls!)

5.  Go Black-and-White:
Many times, high traffic tourist areas are super busy, and that really shows in pictures. So going black-and-white minimizes a lot of the background noise while still keeping the ambiance of the tourist destination. With lots of people come lots of different colors, so black-and-white eliminates distractions from multiple patterns and colors from the backdrop.

Market day at Freiburg in the Black Forest

6.  Put a Few Tricks Up your Sleeve:
Getting the little tot to look at the camera (or wherever you want) can quickly turn into a battle of the wills for the parent; refusal to cooperate is almost a given. So, a little distraction can change the mood. Bubbles seem to work wonders, as does as little noise from behind the camera

7.  Consider Your Spot: 
When traveling, its hard to know much about the physical attributes of the place you are going, because more than likely, the setting is new to you, so before trekking out to the particular spot you imagine to be the picture place, do a little prep work.  The app LightTrac is a good resource to use.  LightTrac will tell you from which direction the sunlight (or moon-light) will be coming from at any time of day, at any location in the world, and lighting can be crucial in making that photo turn out just right.

Taking in the lively port at dusk in Portugal

8.  Take Your Camera Everywhere:
When dealing with young kids, ”scheduled” photo shoots (done by parents) don’t always work when traveling. By having your camera with you at all times, you can take advantage of the little opportunities that arise from the journey throughout the day. From our experience, expecting our little ones to participate for a grand photo session in front on an iconic monument isn’t going to go as planned, and we ended up frustrated with not a single "framer."

9.  Process the Photos.
Using software after the photo is taken can make a big difference in making your photo really stand out. We use a variety of software tools including Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom and Nik Software. But one of the best processing tools for on-the-go travelers is Snapseed. It’s really great, because it has adjustable presets that the user can determine how much or little to use. Snapseed is a mobile app and can be found in the App store.

Overlooking the valley in the Italian Alps

10. Relax and Enjoy:
Vacation is meant to be enjoyed; it’s a holiday after all! Great pictures can help you look back and enjoy the fond memories of your time there, but it’s not worth ruining your trip just to get a few good photos. Cranky kids don’t make for fun travel mates!!

Playing in the pumpkins at a Pumpkin Festival

So campers, will you please share with us some of your great photos from shots taken across the globe? Join us on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!