Simple Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos

Not only does a holiday provide you and your family a much-needed break, it will also serve up some of the best photo opportunities you'll see all year.

This is a great time to reach for a camera to do the annual group portrait. Here are some simple tips for taking great holiday photos using your camera or phone.

child running on a beach

Tip #1: Purposely make great photo opportunities

As a photographer it has always been my job to set up the shot. So naturally, I do this all of the time with my own family! When we were in Ireland in 2016, we went for a walk on the beach. I wrote my son Harry’s name in huge letters on the sand as he played. I thought it would be a great photo but even more memorable to have my child in it. So I asked my son to run past, and captured one of my favourite shots of the trip (photo above)! It is so simple to do, get your child to write their name or do it yourself and snap the results on your phone or camera.

Tip #2: When photographing groups and families you must take a lot of photos.

People generally complain about having their picture taken and want the experience to be over quickly. You need to work quickly in order to get the job done within their limits of patience. And you need to keep the experience as fun and friendly as possible, so they remember it in a positive light. Don't put pressure on yourself to have everyone looking at the camera, often the favourite photos are the most candid and playful ones like this one.

Simple Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos

Tip #3: Don't use flash indoors

It is very tempting to turn on the flash on your camera or phone, but please don't.  The light from flash, especially from the tiny flashes on digital cameras and phones - tend to produce harsh, flat, and cold light. This is rarely a complimentary way to illuminate your subject. Plus you might find everyone is temporary blinded afterwards too! So instead, put your subjects standing near a window or door instead of relying on the flash. Even at night, in a darker room, you can still avoid the flash by just turning on extra lamps or other ambient light.


Tip #4: Don't pose - allow the candid moments to shine

Take some candid photos during the holiday of everyone having fun. You can capture great expressions and moments when your subject isn’t aware that the camera is pointed at them. Kids often freeze and put on their 'fake' smile when they see a camera pointed at them. If you’re shooting with a big camera it’s much more obvious that you’re taking photos, and your children can start to behave differently or get camera-shy, so sometimes it can be better to use your phone instead.

child bouncing on a bed

Tip #5: Shoot your food!

It’s easy to take a great shot of a mouth-watering plate of food by zooming in tight on the dish (or some phones have a "Food" feature too). This is a fun photo you can take to remember the delicacies you enjoyed on your trip.

fig and salmon salad

Tip #6: Pass the camera around

How will anyone know you were there if you stay behind the camera the entire time? Have others in your group take pictures or shoot video of you having fun too. Don't forget to include the selfies too!


Tip #7: Don't forget the night shots

Don't put your camera away after the sun goes down, that's the time when you can get some of your best shots. Christmas time is the best time to capture the lights, decorations and sights. City lights and storefronts, neon signs and strobe lights – you simply can’t get this during the day, so take the time to see how you can creatively use them.

taronga zoo

Tip #8: Take a step back

As you're traveling, one of your primary goals as a photographer is to take in the sights. You're likely to encounter many breathtaking views that you'll want to remember just as they were.

The cliffs of Moher

Tip #9: Avoid the cliche

As you visit new and exciting places, resist the urge to just stand people in front of a landmark or view and snap a picture. Try instead to create clever poses and compositions that you won't see in the photos of everyone who has ever been to that place.

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Tips #10: Know when to put your camera down

This might sound counter-intuitive for an article about simple tips for taking great holiday photos . There is a time to shoot pictures and a time to just be with friends and family. Rather than 100 photos of your family doing one activity, just take a handful and use the rest of your time to simply be with your loved ones and enjoy your time together.


If you’ve found this blog post useful, please share it with any of your friends who you think might like it too! I hope my tips help you to take great photos of your summer holiday.

Take lots of pictures, but most importantly have a great time!

If you would like to get in touch, you can contact me via this page

TipsTara WardComment