Family Travel / Photography

How to Take Family Photos when Travelling

Going on a family holiday? Don’t forget to take some pictures of your whole family… including YOU! But how do you get family travel photos with everyone in it that you actually like? Here are my top photography tips for taking family photos when travelling.

Don’t be Shy to Take Photos

This can go for both those who are camera shy and those who feel uncomfortable taking photos in public places.

But here’s the thing.

You will love to have those family memories captured. Your kids will love looking at the photos in 10 years time. So don’t worry about what other people might be thinking or how you look. Just take the photo.

You also don’t have to share it on social media, simply capture it for your own memories.

Read More: 5 Benefits to Travelling with Your Family

family on beach with newborn in Coral Bay, Western Australia - Where We Are Headed

How to take Family Photos with Everyone in it?

So you might be happy to take a family photo, but how do you get everyone in the picture? It’s not like you can travel with a professional photographer or always have a friend with you.

Actually being able to take the photo can be one of the biggest challenges to getting a shot with the whole family in it. Here are some of the best ways to getting your family photo.

Use Self-Timer

Before you switch your camera to self-timer, make sure you do some test shots first. Get your camera setting right. Make sure everyone fits in the frame. Don’t crop out an important landmark.

Set your camera to self-timer with BURST MODE. When using self-timer, burst mode is important because it’s a lot harder to know when the camera will take the photo.

Burst mode means that your camera will take multiple photos after each other, rather than just one. This way there is more chance that you will end up with a photo that you are happy with!

When using self-timer it can be useful to have a tripod to set the camera up on. However, travelling with a tripod can be quite annoying so I usually just find a sturdy place to put the camera on instead. Just make sure its not pointing too high or low!

Ask Someone To Take It

Sometimes, using self-timer is just not going to work. There might not be a good spot to set up your camera. Maybe your at a crowded attraction and can’t leave your camera on it’s own.

Whatever the reason, when you can’t use self-timer, you may need to ask someone else to take the picture. But before handing over your camera to someone else, there are a few things you should prepare:

1. First, do a practice shot yourself.

If you’re using manual, get your settings right. Make sure everyone can fit in the frame and that it is all set up the way you want it.

Read More: Travel Photography for Beginners: How to Shoot in Manual Mode

2. Find the right person to take your family photo.

When I’m looking for someone to take our family photo, I always try to find someone who is using a camera themselves.

This is for two reasons:

One, there is a higher chance that they will know how to take a decent photo.

Two, if they have their own camera they have no reason to run off with yours! This is more a joke, but in reality, you can never be too sure.

3. Show them how to use your camera.

Sometimes you might not be able to find the right person to take your family photo. So when you find someone willing, you might need to show them how to use your camera. Show them where to look, and what button to press.

4. Tell them to take lots of photos.

Lots of photos means there is more chance that one of them turns out! Kids are unpredictable and you never know who is going to get upset and when. It’s best to take lots of photos and delete the bad ones.

5. Tell them how you want the photo framed.

To do this, you could show them your practice photo so they know how you want the photo to be taken. Otherwise, let them know what direction to hold the camera (landscape vs. portrait).

If you are at an incredible attraction, always remember to tell your photographer to include that in your photo. You want to be able to see where your family has travelled to!

6. Don’t overwhelm them with too many instructions!

While all these tips can help you to get a good family photo, there is no need to overwhelm your photographer. Assess what they are capable of and choose what is most important to you.

Family in Gardens by the Bay Singapore- Where We Are Headed

How to Get Good Holiday Family Photos?

When I did a poll on Instagram about the biggest challenges of taking family holiday photos, there was an overwhelming number of people who said “getting a good photo” was the biggest challenge. So I thought I would give my top photography tips for getting a good family holiday photo:

Take Family Photos ASAP

When you first arrive at your travel destination, take your family photo as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more chance that you will forget.

If your visiting an iconic attraction on a day trip, taking your photo as soon as possible will mean the kids (and you) still look good. As you spend more time somewhere, it will also become harder to get everyone together for the photo.

By taking your family travel photo first, you can then put your camera away and just enjoy the destination.

Go for Candid

Getting all the kids to look happy and smile at the camera can be one of the most stressful things about taking a family photo. While this style of photography can be stunning, having your family smile, laugh and interact with each other is so much more meaningful.

Taking a candid photo is also a great option for capturing the destination you have travelled to.

Don’t Worry About the Kids

Sometimes kids are just not in the mood to take a photo. If this is the case, don’t spend the whole time telling them to smile. Just worry about actually smiling yourself and everything will turn out okay.

In other words, it’s better to have one grumpy person in the photo than to have everyone looking bad.

Give Your Kids a Sneaky Tickle

Unless they are in a very bad mood, a little tickle can be one of the easiest ways to cheer up your child and have them look happy in your photo.

Make Sure Everyone Knows What to Expect

Before you get you take your photo, make sure your husband and kids know what to expect for the photo. Is everyone going to look and smile at the camera? Are you going to walk holding hands? Are you going to look at the view? Should the kids look at Dad?

Give your family clear and simple instructions so that no one looks awkward or unsure. This is an easy way to have everyone can look good in your family photo.

Focus on the Destination

You have just travelled to an incredible destination; don’t you want to showcase it? Taking family selfies might be fun, but it won’t show where you travelled. The point is, make sure you capture the destination and your adventures in your photos.

Read More: 10 Tips for Adventure Photography with Kids

If your looking for ideas on where to take photos on your family holiday, Instagram and Pinterest can be great places to find inspiration.

Technical Tips for Getting Good Family Photos:

I’ll keep these technical photography tips simple. If your looking for a more in-depth guide, you can read about how to use manual mode for beginners here.

  1. Find your spot based on the lighting
  2. Get the settings right before getting the family ready
  3. Use a fast shutter speed if you have wiggly kids (1/160)
  4. Use auto focus
  5.  If someone else is taking the photo and you don’t have time to work out the settings, then switch your camera to auto

Read More: How to Take Incredible Travel Photos in Bright Sunlight


Getting a family photo on holidays isn’t always the easiest thing to remember. But coming home with a photo of your whole family together is something you will look back on for years to come.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the photo doesn’t turn out… you don’t have to post it to social media just because you took one! It’s the memories behind the photo that matter the most.

Read More: How to Take Travel Photos During Golden Hour

No Comments

    Leave a Reply