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10 tips for taking family photos on holiday

Published on 31 May 2022 by Amy Greenwood

Did you know that 4.7 billion photos are taken everyday. Yes, every single day! But how many of those family photos are actually worth keeping? We’re taking more photos than ever before but we’re putting less thought into each individual picture taken. This means that most of our holiday snaps aren’t worthy of being printed and displayed on our walls or in our photo albums like we used to.

I think it’s time to put some thought back into our photos and start trying a little harder to capture the perfect family photo on holiday.

Today I’d like to share some tips to help you capture perfect family photos while you’re on holiday. These are the moments you want to capture and treasure forever, whether you’re on beautiful beaches, hiking up mountains, gathering your family for a summer BBQ or you’re all having fun in the hot tub. These are the photos you want to display on your walls, send to your friends, post on social media, print out into photo books and albums and eventually share with your grandchildren in forty years time!.

These are such precious memories, so capture them well and do them justice!

But family photos on holiday aren’t always the easiest things to take. How do you get the whole family in the photo without leaving someone out? How do you get everyone to face the right direction and look natural? How do you take a quick photo without everyone moaning and complaining they’re bored!? How do you get photos that feature your family and the beautiful backdrop of your holiday location?

Here are my tips for taking family photos on holiday to capture your amazing holiday memories.

Use a tripod

10 tips for taking family photos on holiday

The most important thing when it comes to taking family photos is to use a tripod. It may feel a little overkill if you’re just snapping informal family photos on your phone but a tripod will make all the difference and makes it much easier for you to get into the photo.

For great family photos, make sure your camera is on a tripod and sitting at the same level as everyone’s eyes. This feels like a natural angle and will mean the camera isn’t tilting upwards and enhancing double chins or titling down and missing the background.

You can also place your tripod far away enough to capture the background as well as your family!

There are lots of small, lightweight and foldable tripods available for phones and cameras so you can pop it into your pocket when you’re not using it. Manfrotto have great quality ones but budget ones are available on Amazon! Another great option is a Joby Gorilla Pod. This is a portable tripod with flexible arms which can be twisted around trees, gates, fences, shelves etc so you can mount them just about anywhere.

Also, don’t be shy about using a good old-fashioned selfie stick. Yes, you’ll look like a tourist but you’ll get some great photos! A selfie stick will help you position your camera further away so you can get more people and more of the background in your frame.

Use a timer

If you want to get in the photo then you’re going to need to set a timer so you can set it up and then jump into the frame. Just accept that it might take 2-3 attempts to get the perfect photo!

Familiarise yourself with where the timer function is on your phone or camera so you can set it up quickly and not leave your family hanging around.

Use a timelapse feature

If your camera has a timelapse function then this is an invaluable feature to get family photos! 

10 tips for taking family photos on holiday

You can set your time lapse function to take a photo at set intervals (usually 1-10 seconds). You can then stitch these photos together to create a video showing time passing quickly. But timelapses aren’t just for creating arty videos of sunsets and clouds. You can also pick out each individual photo and use it as a standalone picture.

I like to set my camera to take a photo every two seconds. I’ll set it up on a tripod and try to arrange my family somewhere in the frame for at least 30 seconds. I’ll usually get one lovely family photo and a handful of funny, natural, candid or hilarious photos we didn’t expect. 

If your camera doesn’t have a timelapse feature then you can download one on your phone. 

Use the camera on the back of your phone, not the front

Front facing cameras are great for selfies as you can see yourself and they encourage everyone to look in the right direction. But the quality of your front camera is never as good as the back camera, so avoid taking hand-held selfies and opt for the back camera on a tripod.

Take photos at golden hour

The best time of day to take photos is ‘golden hour’. This is the hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset, when the light is soft and golden and gorgeous. It’s such a flattering light and will require very little editing.

Avoid taking photos at midday when the sun is harsh and strong and creates lots of shadows. This can be nice for photos of scenery but it’s usually very unflattering for people.

Get outdoors

Outdoor family photos are much easier to take than indoor photos under artificial lights. When you’re outdoors you’ll have plenty of space, natural lighting and an abundance of beautiful backdrops around North Wales!

Ask your family to face the light

Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, it’s usually best to ask your family to face the light. If you’re indoors, have them stand in front of a window and face the window. You can even place your camera on a tripod on a windowsill for the best results.

If you’re outdoors then try your best to face the sun. This isn’t always possible when the sun is strong and bright as you’ll all be squinting at the camera, but try your best! This is another reason why it’s easier to take photos at golden hour because you’ll be able to face the sun without being blinded!

Get ready and take it quickly

10 tips for taking family photos on holiday

The biggest mistake most people make when trying to take family photos is that they’re too slow. People announce they’re taking a photo, gather their loved ones, get them all to pose…and then they spend 10 minutes setting up their camera…

By the time they’re ready to take the photo the whole family has lost interest and their smiles become forced and unnatural.

I recommend setting up your camera on a tripod with a beautiful background and perfect lighting…and then gather your family!

Use Instagram for photo inspiration

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to family photo backdrops in North Wales! If you’re feeling overwhelmed then search Instagram for photography inspiration. Use the location function to search for photos in a place you’re visiting that day and save any photos you’d like to recreate with your family.

Store your photos safely

My final tip is the most important of all and that’s to store your photos safely so you don’t lose them. Many of us take hundreds of photos every week and end up losing them when we upgrade our phones.

I love to print my family holiday albums by making photo books on PhotoBox. But the photos that don’t make the photo album are still worth keeping so store them safely online.

Did you know that Amazon Prime members have access to Amazon Photos and you can store unlimited photos online? I use this and my phone automatically performs a daily backup to store any photos I took that day. It’s then quick and easy to scroll back through Amazon Photos, either on the app or on a desktop computer, to find old photos.

Find your next holiday cottage here and get that camera ready!

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