How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos

How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos

The school holidays are fast approaching, and for many of us that means holiday time! Holidays tend to be packed full of moments and experiences that you’ll enjoy looking back at – everyone’s relaxed, there’s no need to be in a certain place at a certain time, and you do new things. This is definitely a time for taking lots of photographs. Read on for my 9 tips for taking great photos on your family holiday this summer.


1. Take the right gear

You don’t want to arrive at your destination and then find you don’t have everything you need so take some time to prepare beforehand.

I recommend travelling light so you don’t have too much to carry. If you’re taking a DSLR consider which lenses you really need. I only took my camera body and one lens on our last holiday to Sani Resort in Greece (which is where I took these photos) and managed just fine.

Whether you’re taking a point and shoot, your phone camera or a DSLR make sure you have your charger, spare batteries if needed, and plenty of space on your memory cards. It’s worth checking that you’ve saved and backed up all of the photographs on your memory cards before you go, so that you can wipe them and start with an empty card – you don’t want to find them full halfway through the holiday and have to start deciding what to delete.

How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos

2. Don’t feel you have to take photographs every day

Once you’re away, don’t feel you have to take your camera everywhere. Allow yourself some time where you can just enjoy the moment without worrying about whether you’ve captured it all – in a one or two week holiday there’s plenty of time to take photos and have time to relax.

On our holiday this year I took my camera to the beach on a couple of days, and on a walk in the nature reserve on another, but the rest of the time I left it behind so I could just relax and enjoy the holiday. If you’d like to do the same it might be helpful to think about what you’ll be doing each day, and which days you’ll take your camera with you. And if something amazing that you just have to photograph happens on one of the days you aren’t carrying your camera, you can always use the camera on your phone.

How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos

3. Get up early one day for a quiet walk

If you have young children it can be difficult to find time to capture all of the photos you’d like to take. This has certainly been adjustment that I’ve had to make since becoming a mum – I used to spend hours taking photos on our holidays when it was just me and my husband, but now I have to be much more efficient!

If this is the case for you too, my suggestion is to get up early one day, and use this time to capture your surroundings – the scenery and the resort or town where you’re staying. You should also have fewer other people around first thing in the morning too, which means fewer people in your photos.

How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos

How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos

4. Capture the sunset

If you’re staying on the coast, sunset can be a wonderful time to take some photographs. Of course there’s the beautiful sight of the sun setting that you can capture, but if you’re on the beach you could also have some fun, and capture your children’s silhouettes. Read more about photographing silhouettes here.

How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos

5. Embrace the candid moments

There will be so many memories to capture on holiday, but not all of them will be perfect – there might be other people in the background, the light might not be quite right, or there might not be time to move all of the mess out of the way. My suggestion – embrace the moment and just do the best job of capturing it that you can.

You might also find these posts helpful as you capture your children’s candid moments:

Take great photos of your children outdoors

How to photograph your moving child

Take great photos of your kids splashing in water

How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos

6. Capture the details that made your experience

As well as all of the scenery and views, there are other things that will make the holiday special for you. Be sure to capture these too. For me, it’s the food, so I’ll often be found photographing what’s on my plate before I eat it!

How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos

7. Set aside time for a photograph of the whole family

If you’re always behind the camera, you might not end up being in many of the photographs. So make sure to set some time aside for a photo of the whole family.

I chose one evening to do this – we were all dressed up for dinner and looking much better than when we were covered in sun cream and hot and bothered at the beach during the day! We had friends staying on the same resort so I asked them to take the photograph for us. If you don’t have anyone with you to take the photograph you can always use the timer function on your camera, or even embrace the selfie stick! The important thing is that when you look back you’ll be in the photos too.

How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos


8. Back up and organise your photos soon after you get home

Life can suddenly get busy when you return from holiday, and organising and editing your photographs is one of those things that can end up slipping down the list. Make a point of organising and editing your photos as soon as you can after you get home. And don’t forget to back them up too!

You can find my tips for organising your family photographs here.

How to Take Great Family Holiday Photos

9. Do something with your holiday photos!

Finally, have a think about you’d like to do with these precious memories you’ve captured. There are so many wonderful ways to print and display photographs, so it’s a shame to leave them sitting on a hard drive.

This year mine will be going into our family album, and last year I used some photos from our family holiday to create a gallery wall in our hallway. I’d love to hear what you decide to do with yours.


Over to you

I hope these tips help you to capture some wonderful memories on your summer holiday. I’d love to hear how you get on with them – let me know in the comments below.

You can find more family photography tips here.

Clare Murthy

Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
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