How To Photograph Kids on Vacation
Here’s a few little secrets for photographing the world’s most difficult subject: a travelling kid.
Photographing kids can be tricky at the best of times. They move like lightning, and can go from laughing to wailing in ten seconds flat. But add in a foreign city, unfamiliar surrounds, luggage, new foods and long trips on public transport, and your challenge has just become all that much greater.
But don’t despair!
Travelling is also an opportunity to take beautiful photos in exotic environments, preserving special memories and capturing moments of wonder as they happen. Take your photos well, and you’ll have images that will transport your friends and family into experiencing your vacation with you just as you did: vividly, and with a sense of adventure!
Here are a few tips and tricks from TripShooter on how to get amazing photos of kids on vacation.
1. Tell a story
The most important thing about any vacation photo is that you tell a story with it. A picture has the capacity to speak a thousand words, so why make them weak ones? As you travel, think about the moments you’d like to convey about your trip. Do you want to express the relief of finally emerging from the car on a road trip? The mayhem of excitement on climbing the Eiffel Tower? Think about your experience and message first, and the photo will more easily follow.
2. Look for backgrounds and work the kids in
If you find an amazing background, it’s usually easy to get kids there without begging. Try kicking a ball where you’d like them to be, or get them chasing a bird. Once they’re there, you can compose your perfect photo without them even realising – no need for forcing them in one spot and having them say “cheese”! And something we might sometimes forget – you can move too. If your kids are engaged and involved in an activity, see if you can quickly move to a place where you can capture them and still get the background you’d like.
3. Find what interests them
Kids are often interested in things that adults aren’t, and this can make your photos very special. In capturing their discoveries in a foreign country, you can preserve some of their wonder… the reason why we all love to travel.
4. Get them moving
An active photo is so much more interesting than a static one. Embrace the natural tendency of children to MOVE! I often leave my camera on shutter speed priority to ensure sharp photos of my rapidly-moving (and unpredictable!) targets. Make your shutter speed fast if you’d like to capture them clearly, or experiment with slower shutter speeds and panning if you’d like to introduce a sense of movement into your pictures.
5. Don’t forget the details
Dirty feet from walking barefoot in the Brazilian jungle? Only two eyes peeking out from a hat, scarf and jacket in European winter? Learn to love the little details of your trip, and you’ll remember the big things more easily. Photos of favourite bags, food you ate or hair that grew long on adventures are all small details that look great in close up, and can vividly capture your holiday. Just remember, every photo doesn’t have to be your child’s smiling face. So many other things contribute to your memory of them, and together can create a more powerful story.
6. See when they interact with their environment
We travel to engage with new environments, not to juxtapose ourselves upon them. Think about how your children are interacting with the people they meet; with the landscapes they are experiencing; and capture that interaction.
7. Be prepared to be spontaneous
Sometimes a great moment comes in an imperfect photo. I love this photo of my son cracking up at a mime artist in Paris. There are crowds of people around him and a man walking through the centre of the photo, but the photo stays great because in all that hustle and bustle, it still manages to catch a great travel moment that can’t be replicated.
8. Turn the bad into the good
Electricity’s out for three days on vacation? No problem! It makes for some great vacation photos. As do rainy days, ice-cream faces and public meltdowns. And sometimes that picture of your son’s disappointed face at the Louvre (“it’s bor-ing!”) will be your favourite to laugh over in years to come.
9. Feel the love and connect with the moment
The images that connect with us most are those that express emotions. Travelling can open up all sorts of emotions, and if you can find those moments and capture them, you’ll be telling a very special story. This usually takes a lot of patience, and making sure your camera is handy for when those special moments do come. Times of relaxation – for example, quiet spells on a bus, or an afternoon siesta, are often times when you might find these kinds of photos. They’re kind of the opposite of the active, discovery moments you capture at other times during your vacation.
10. A tickle!
Never underestimate the power of a tickle! When my kids are bored, tired or indifferent to my camera, here’s my trade secret: I just creep my fingers in and give them a quick tickle. You might only get a few seconds of happiness, but those few seconds will last a lifetime in the photo!
Have you got any other tips? Share them with us in the comments.
Tags: Inspiration, Kids, Photo Tips