November 17, 2023

5 ways to capture FUN vacation photos with your family

5 ways to capture FUN vacation photos

I recently asked some of my family and friends why they bought their last camera? The answer was that all of them had a big family event or vacation coming up, they said they wanted the best ‘tool’ to record and capture those special moments so they could share them and keep them forever. I started to think about my own camera purchases and was not surprised to realise that I was the same, EVERY camera purchase I’ve ever made in the past has been before an upcoming vacation!

So why does vacation photography seem so important to me? Firstly, I cherish my own personal photographs from my childhood vacations, one look and I’m transported back to the fun times we spent camping at the beach! I want my own children to have a collection of great photographs to help them remember the fun times we’ve all shared. Secondly, our lives are busy, vacations offer us the much needed time to re-connect, relax and explore together whilst creating our own family vacation memories! Why wouldn’t I want to invest in a product that will help me capture these precious and all so valuable moments? That’s why I purchased my Canon 650D SLR Camera, and that’s also why I invested in a range of different lenses to help capture these priceless memories and moments*.

Read on to find our top 5 ways to capture FUN vacation photos with your family!

1. Breathe, relax & capture the ‘moments’…
Capture the moments – vacations are so precious, we often spend lots of time, money and effort planning them to be just ‘perfect’. So our advice is to do exactly that – ‘breathe’, relax and take in the moments – use your camera as an extension of yourself to capture these special moments. Photos will reflect your mood so when you’re relaxed and having fun your photos will reflect that too.

I used my portrait lens (Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM ) to capture the top image of my son and then switched back to my standard lens (EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM) to capture the action images of him digging in the sand. The two styles work really well together in this collage – I am instantly taken back to that happy place when I look at them.

Capture the simple moments that bring you the most joy.

2. Compose your ‘story’…
It’s fun to take a wide range of varied shots – from close-up portrait images to panoramic shots, this in turn keeps your albums interesting. We all have a preferred shooting style and it’s often easy to get stuck taking the ‘same’ style of photo. Make your story more intriguing by using different angles and positioning your subjects in varying positions, more importantly, remember to switch your lens to suit each style – change your lens to change your story.

Vacations offer great opportunities to capture great candid shots too – grab the camera and start snapping whilst your family aren’t posing or even aware of you and the camera.

My son and daughter were busy collecting driftwood, shells and seaweed when I shot the below images. The sky was covered with some interesting cloud cover so I decided to switch my lens to the Canon Ultra Wide Angle (Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM). This enabled me to capture their imaginative play scene amongst the dramatic background. Whilst I was shooting my son started to head back from the water and I managed to line him up in-between the driftwood – I love the way the sticks have framed him in this photo.   

Fun beach photo using an Ultra Wide Angle lens!

Canon panoramic beach shot using the Ulra Wide Angle lens!!

*the below panorama was taken with an iPhone 5  under the same conditions. I was curious to see the difference from the Ultra Wide Angle lens (Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM). The iPhone failed to capture the cloud formations without distorting them.  

Comparitive Panoramic photo taken with iPhone

3. Props, props and MORE props!!
Okay, I’m a HUGE fan of using props in photography! It can add such an awesome element to your vacation photography…and also add to your level of family FUN! I always shop for props before an upcoming holiday. The props can be functional too, like these sunglasses!

Or a simple flower lei can add to that vacation vibe! What do you think of when you see one of these? You think of a tropical and exotic holiday?! That’s what everyone else will see too…including your children! They will see props as a FUN dress-up item and will in turn create some fun moments for you to capture! They can also add some brightness and texture to photographs in otherwise bland backdrops.

There are way too many examples of vacation props to list…so here are just a few – maps, cowboy hats, fishing gear, glasses, umbrella straws, bright scarves, fun beanies, goggles, floaties, sailor hats…the list goes on and on…just be sure that they are light and easy to transport around with you.

I set the below glasses roughly 2 meters from where my son was building his sand castle, I then moved myself to align him in the reflection. I changed back to my portrait lens (Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Portrait Lensto change the story and focus on the sunglasses. I love the sequence of photos that this method produced. 

FUN ways to capture vacation photos!

How to capture FUN family photos.

The below picture (left) demonstrates one of my favourite props, that photo was taken prior to my Canon DSLR and although I still love the photo I wish it had been taken using the Portrait lens (Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Portrait Lenslike the photo on the right. I’m sure it would have really captured those sparkling blue eyes perfectly. 

FUN family vacation photo ideas! Love the flower lei!

4. Choose the right lens that best portrays your ‘story’…don’t forget to change your lens change your story
I once thought that it was enough to have just my digital SLR camera, that it alone could take ALL the great shots that I wanted but the more I learn about photography the more I understand the benefits of each additional lens. It’s just like the increasing number of apps and camera settings on our iPhones these days – each of them has a ‘hero’ place where they can be used. I’m really happy with the images I’ve captured using both my portrait and Ultra Wide Angle Lenses. Each specified lens empowers YOU to bring your best shots to life, simply by changing your lens you can change your whole story!

The below image was taken using the portrait lens (Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Portrait Lensand it has successfully captured their faces perfectly whilst blurring the busy and distracting background. 

The ultimate Top 5 vacation photography tips!

I switched back to my telephoto lens (EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM) and shot in sports mode to capture these FUN action shots! The girls are being towed very fast on a skim board yet they are still in focus. I think my next lens purchase will be the Canon sports lens (EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM)- I love taking action shots! 

Using the sports funtion to capture a moving subject!

5. Lighting…
Lighting is SO important in all aspects of photography! The ‘best’ times for enjoying the most the light has to offer is between ‘shifting’ lights – like sunrise, sunset, an approaching storm or dynamic cloud structure – don’t be upset by ‘imperfect’ weather – these days often lend themselves to being the easiest to shoot in. You can always improve your chances of having great lighting by investing in a portable light reflector/defuse kit (available at all good camera stores). Another great addition to your suitcase is a handy travel tripod (available at all good camera stores). I would hardly be in any photos without ours – especially handy when combined with a remote control shutter!

The below image was taken by my husband using our portrait lens (Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Portrait Lens). My husband isn’t very interested in photography but he really enjoys using the portrait lens – he says it’s impossible to take a bad shot with it lol. 

Changing lenses to change the story.

In the below images we switched back to our Ultra Wide Angle lens (Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM) and set the camera up on our compact tripod. I love how this lens has enabled us to be captured with the breathtaking sunset in the background.  

Sunset Family Vacation - so grateful that we had our handy tripod with us!

This photo below makes me laugh…I set the self timer on the camera then quickly ran down the beach to walk back as a family…the kids thought it was hilarious too! 

Sunset family vacation image - a compact tripod came in handy with this one!

We hope these tips and ideas will help you capture and record your own special stories with your families and loved ones! I’m looking forward to sharing our story  of vacation photos in a printed PhotoBook like this.

You might also be interested in reading our post featuring our top tips for capturing beautiful portrait images of your kids. And be sure to follow us on Instagram to see more of our FUN photography ideas!

*I feel that it’s important to have a kit of a few lenses, as with each lens you can tell a different story and share a different perspective of a scene…it’s also a fun way to keep growing and learning as a photographer. The four lenses I used during this vacation were the Portrait  Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Portrait Lens, Ultra Wide Angle  Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM, Standard EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM & Telephoto EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM.

Louise x

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This post is coordinated by The Remarkables Group

This post is sponsored by Canon


5 thoughts on “5 ways to capture FUN vacation photos with your family

  1. Louise, great post, thank you for the brilliant tips. Would a Canon 50mm lens fit onto my Canon 600D? I love your husband’s comments about how easy it is to take pics with that lens, and yours do look gorgeous.

    You girls are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world, and it’s also a part of my story- we became engaged on Point Cartwright six years ago.

    Looking forward to reading more of your photography posts. 🙂

    1. Hi Bronwyn, I believe the lens should fit without a problem but it might be best to check with the Camera store you re ordering it from. I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed these tips and also recognised Point Cartwright Lighthouse in the images – such a beautiful place!! We look forward to sharing more tips closer to Christmas :).
      Louise x

  2. Hi Louise, a tip I was given recently is to make sure your horizon is always straight. Hope this helps people. Happy Holidaying.

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