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How to photograph your Summer Vacation

10 stress free ways to photograph your next vacation

Sunrise at Palm Springs by Beautiful Stories Photography
Sunrise at Palm Springs

We have all seen the beautiful, scenic and breathtaking pictures on Instagram of travel and vacation. And every time we see those amazing photographs we promise ourselves that on our next vacation we will remember to capture our adventures and bring back home a little bit of our excursion. But vacationing with kids can sometimes feel like a lot of work… especially if they are on the younger side.

Of course we remember to get some selfies at all the tourist attractions but they are nothing like the pictures we see on social media.

While I am here to help you document your vacation, I want to start by addressing the fact that most travel accounts you follow on Instagram are either professional photographers or have a bunch of Instagram filters slapped on the photographs.

So the best way to document your vacation is not by comparing yourself to the travel accounts, rather only focus on your fun, enjoyment and the little mishaps and I assure you the pictures you will bring back home, will be a treasure for lifetime!

Summer in India
Summer in India

Choose your camera wisely

I own multiple cameras and enough lenses to give my husband a stick eye! But when we travel I leave all my bulky, amazingly efficient lenses at home and bring with me a compact, fixed lens camera. I do that for two reasons:

  1. I don’t want to lose or break my very expensive gear on a vacation.

  2. All the fancy cameras are heavy and bulky and the last thing you want on your hike is to carry bulky gear with you.

Now if you are a travel photographer, by all means, bring all that bulk. For everyone else, just bring the camera you have in your hand, even your phone can do a pretty good job!

Starts with the planning

Isn’t planning the trip more fun? Figuring out places to visit, finalizing outfits, packing, no matter how boring or mundane these feel to you right now. In a few years you would retell the story of how you over packed for your Euro trip over and over again. And wouldn’t it be great if you will have a picture to show-off?

Travel photography
Travel photography

Capture the travel

My favorite vacation images often include travel!

Whether it was smooth or bumpy, all vacation stories begin and end with travel!

Capture your kids running around in the airport. Photograph them clutching to your hand during a take off or landing. Photograph their little faces lit up with joy when they get to sit in a train. The lines, reflections, colors and of course the people in the transit make for amazing compositional elements and really fun stories!

Arc De Triomphe, Spain
Arc De Triomphe, Spain

Photograph the attraction

This goes without saying, when in Paris you will photograph the Eiffel Tower! But sometimes the most beautiful vantage point might not be directly under the tower! Do your research and find the most photographed spots. And if you are not the planning kind, here’s a thumb rule for you, always, always step away from the attraction you are going to photograph. There should be at least a few feet between you and the attraction for you to get the complete view. And for larger buildings or towers, maintain at least an eighth mile distance.

Once you are at the desired distance, take photographs from various angles. Bend all the way down or reach up high, include some of the foreground or go for a blurred effect. Have fun with it!

Sacred Heart, Paris
Sacred Heart, Paris

Interact with the environment

If there is only one thing you take away from this article, let this be it!

There is nothing more boring than a photograph of a kid slouching in front of the Disneyland Castle. We all have seen those images, haven’t we? Now I will tell you what you can do instead!

Ask your kids to run, jump, do jumping jacks, twirl, smell the flowers, hold and sway a balloon. Just do something. Anything.

Interact with the environment you are in.

This will create images which are more real, more fun and so much more emotive!

When you look back at these pictures you will remember all the fun you had and how much joy you felt!

A photograph of you with your partner waltzing away in front of the Eiffel Tower would evoke so many more emotions that a photograph where you are simply standing in front of the tower, isn’t it?

Street Photography, Paris
Street Photography, Paris

Try street photography

No matter where I go in the world, people are the most interesting subjects. And what better place to study and photograph people than on the street?

Once you get over the awkward phase of holding a camera in front of strangers, Street Photography is actually a lot of fun and the stories you bring back from the streets are so fun and worth remembering.

And if you are visiting a foreign land, I highly recommend bringing in at least a few pictures from the street. The vendors, the shops, the colors, the goods they are selling, the kids and the old people and just the way of life in general.

Street Photography, Paris
Street Photography, Paris

Don’t forget the details

While you are on the street and capturing the big picture, don’t forget about the smaller details. Especially if you are in a market, notice all the colors and patterns, get in close and snap those details.

Think about all the things that have intricate patterns and would look so wonderful when photographed up close, the sea shells, souvenirs hanging in a shop, climbing roses on the wall, the wind swept hair, possibilities are endless!

How about the food?

I love love love food photography. Especially if it's different from the usual food we eat!

Like when we went to Hawaii, every morning our breakfast was served with an orchid. It was as delicious as it looked! Obviously we have pictures of all that yummy breakfast and we try to recreate every now and then.

From the gelatos to burgers to bowls, food can bring in so many memories of the places we visit. Photograph your food, the bowls and plates it comes in and the happy smiles around the table or the chunky hands trying to sneak some food while you are photographing it.

A little boy in Joshua Tree National Park
A little boy in Joshua Tree National Park

Capture boredom

We know travel comes with its ups and downs and highs and lows. While you are photographing all the fun, don’t forget to photograph the boredom too!

Capture the tired little kids sleeping on dad’s shoulder as you walk back to your hotel, photograph them staring outside the window of the train/plane, photograph all the somber expressions, you will miss these as much as you will miss the happy ones!

Happy Faces on Carousel
Happy Faces on Carousel

Happy Faces on Carousel
Happy Faces on Carousel

Photograph feelings

Travel is all about feeling all the feels from excited to wondrous to joyous to boredom! This is one time when we actually have the time and space to be present and to actually enjoy that coffee in the morning and feel the sun on our skin. From the sound of rain to the silence of night, every sound and thought is felt more deeply. Don’t forget to capture those feelings and bottle up a little bit of nostalgia and magic that will bring you back on the road.

Have a wonderful Summer Vacation and safe and fun travels!

I would love to see your pictures from your travels, share with me?

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park


Hi! I am Heena.
Your very own Family Photographer!

I am a mom and to two little munchkins and just like you I am a memory keeper of mprecious little family.


This is why I created this Memory Keeper's Handbook. My hope is with this Memory Keeper's Handbook you will be able to preserve the beautiful and fleeting moments of everyday life.

I believe the most important legacy that we give our children is happy memories.



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