4 Tips for Better Family Photos

Today’s post is by guest author, Lesley Frank of Lesley Veronika Photography4 Tips for Better Photos from a Professional PhotographerAs the weather becomes warmer, we all start to think about the summer, and summer means family vacation. As most families are now planning their summer vacations, they should also be thinking about how to preserve those family memories. You’re in a new, exciting place. You’re creating memories with your family. You will want beautiful photos to look back on 10/20/30 years from now to remember what a wonderful time you had with your children.

As a family photographer, clients are constantly asking for advice on how to photograph their children. Lets face it, kids can go from hysterically laughing to uncontrollably crying in 5 seconds, flat. Add an unfamiliar town, new foods, later bedtimes and long trips, and your challenge has just multiplied. But don’t worry. I’m here to give you a few tips on how to take great photos of your kids on vacation.006 Lesley Veronika Photography 8223

005 Lesley Veronika Photography 14251. Keep it simple (Pack light)

You’re already trying to juggle a million and a half kid items, like your daughter’s favorite bedtime stuffed animal and every electronic device known to man, to keep them entertained on the 12 hour car ride. Packing space is usually limited, so keep it simple, especially when traveling overseas.

When I pack my camera bag for my family vacation, I bring one camera body, one lens and one flash. I recommend going with a more versatile lens, such as a wide angle lens. Also, I very rarely use my flash, but I can’t seem to leave it. You never know if you will be in a restaurant or an aquarium that is just too dark. I also bring 2-3 memory cards, 2 sets of camera batteries, 2 sets of flash batteries, and one charger for each of those sets. When you are out and about, bring one set of batteries and leave the other set plugged into the charger in your hotel room. You will have one full set of batteries fully charged at all times.  Because I keep it light, I can fit everything into my over-the-shoulder camera messenger bag (shown below). This bag makes it easy to keep my camera equipment on me at all times, especially on a plane. Do NOT check your camera equipment. It should be your one personal item to carry onto the plane. If you want to go extra simple or don’t have a super fancy camera, just pack your iPhone. For tips on how to photograph your kids with your iPhone, check out my blog.001 Lesley Veronika Photography 77172. Tell a story…Don’t forget about the details

Your vacation is a story itself. When you get back home you will tell your friends and family the story of your vacation. When you are looking back on your photos 30 years from now, you will remember that story. Think about the moments you want to convey. Going to the zoo? Don’t just show your kids at the zoo, but think about the details. Show their little hand feeding a llama, photograph them from behind gazing into the giraffe’s cage. You don’t always have to capture your child’s smiling face to capture the memory of them.  It’s natural to want your family to look happy in their portraits. But the sweet little tear from the meltdown in the middle of the zoo is one you will always remember, and laugh at in the future. By doing this, you’re remembering these moments exactly the way you saw them play out – from your point of view.

003 Lesley Veronika Photography 7659

004 Lesley Veronika Photography 15353. Feel the love

Vacation is about spending quality time together as a family. Photograph the experiences your family is having together. That means down time, too. The photos we love the most are often showing a connection and emotion between people. A hug when unexpected or a giggle at breakfast are fleeting moments. Make sure you are capturing them by always having your camera near by. Don’t forget about yourself, either! You will want to remember that connection you had with your kids on vacation. Pass off the camera to a stranger or your spouse. Are your kids older? Even better! Pass the camera off to them and they will have a whole new experience and you will have a different point of view.003 Lesley Veronika Photography 2820

007 Lesley Veronika Photography 79364. Make something

When you get back from vacation, make something to help preserve those memories. A magnet, some prints, or, my personal favorite, an album will allow you to enjoy your vacation for years to come. You can get all of that and more at one of my favorite print companies, Social Print Studio. Their mini books are perfect for your vacation photos. Plus, they are great for throwing in your purse, to bring along and show all your friends and co-workers. When you are deciding what photos to choose for your album or prints, remember less is best! Pick 2-4 favorites from each event. Think more quality over quantity. Your photos will make more of a statement if you have 3 really great photos rather than 20 so-so photos. Take a look at the photos below. By placing these two next to each other, you tell a story about your son and the goat.008 Lesley Veronika Photography 6925 copy  003 Lesley Veronika Photography 6048The most important thing to remember is not to stress. This is your vacation, after all! Even if you vacation at the same place every year, your children will be older and their experience and point of view will be different each time. Enjoy them at each age and each vacation because that is the thing you will remember the most.

Thank you, Lesley, for your fantastic tips and insights! Be sure to visit her Facebook page for more info about her photography business. Which photography tip do you find to be the most helpful?