(WITH ANY CAMERA!)
Being a professional photographer, I have an advantage here. I know my way around a camera, I already know what lighting to look for and I know the rules of composition and posing.
That's all great. But it really doesn't mean too much when you are photographing a wild 3 year old.
You can own all of the best equipment and it doesn't matter if your kiddo doesn't want any part of it. So here are my best tips to help you take better travel photos of your kids.
1. PLAN AHEAD. PACK WITH PLACES IN MIND.
Yes. I know this takes a lot of work. But it is so worth it. One of the biggest things that ruins photos is wearing the wrong clothes. This is true for the professional engagement sessions I do and for photos when we are traveling. I hate feeling out of place somewhere and I try to adapt to fit in wherever we are going. I always joke with my mom that I have multiple personalities depending on where I am. I have my Fancy/City personality that dresses in camel colored pea coats, slacks and big sunglasses. I have my California/Surfer/Central American personality (my primary style) that dresses in an excessive amount of bright colors, crochet and surf hats. Then I have my Colorado personality that wears too much flannel, ripped jeans and lives in my hiking boots. This also translates to my son Jakey.
When we are packing for each trip, I try to fit the style of the location. Our suitcase to Hawaii was very different than our suitcase to Europe or our trip to NYC. This isn't just based on the climates or the time of year and weather... but the colors in the locations, the styles that compliment the place and the cultures we are visiting.
Here are some examples of how I would dress Jake for different locations:
London - Rugby and Khakis with a raincoat or one of his London shirts.
California/Hawaii - Boardshorts, Surf shirt, flip flops and a trucker hat.
Colorado/Mountains - Colorado Tshirt/Flannel, Shorts and Hiking Boots.
Now I do try to do some other fun things like Lederhosen in Austria or his lei in Hawaii. It just kind of depends what you have and if you are wanting to buy something for it. Most everything we already have and I just try to 'style' it for the locations.
Here are the key tips for this section:
* Dress for the style and culture of the location
* Consider the colors of the area you will be in.
* WEAR PLAIN COLORED SHOES - the cutest outfit will be ruined.
* Keep it classic. Stay away from brands, tv show characters and things that will age the photos. Paw Patrol will go out of style.
* Avoid neon clothes and bright clothes that will cast colors on their faces.
2. BRING BRIBES.
This is another thing to plan ahead with. Even at weddings, I try to bring a bag of M&Ms for ring bearers and flower girls. This isn't something we always do, but it works great for toddlers who are jet lagged and uncooperative. If you are above bribery... good for you! ;)
3. ACT LIKE A TODDLER TALK, LIKE A TODDLER. BE FUN!
Talk in a way they understand. Instead of saying stand there and smile. Tell them to fly like an airplane or point and moo at the cow or laugh like *Insert Disney Movie Villain here*. If you make silly noises at them or if you make it a game, it will go SO much better. "DON'T SMILE! DON'T LAUGH! DADDY'S GOING TO TICKLE YOU!"
4. EXPECT THEM TO BE KIDS
Lets be honest. They don't really care if you get the photo you want. At Jakey's age he is just starting to understand that photos are fun to look back at later. And that still doesn't mean he is going to care in that moment. Don't give them too much instruction. Just hang back and let them do kid things. Let them climb, let them run.
Let them be little.
5. GET ON THEIR LEVEL
Being at eye level totally matters. Yeah it doesn't always work out... but it really is the best angle to capture anyone. If you get down on their eye level, they also are more likely to give you a smile or cooperate with your wishes. My knees and hips will hate me when I'm older, but the photos will be worth it!
6. CAPTURE THEIR WONDER
Forget everything that you want to accomplish and follow them while they experience things for the first time ever. Sure, I encourage my son Jakey to explore in pretty spots in good outfits, but one of the best things you can do is to step back and watch the wonder in their eyes. Take photos of them eating new things. Take photos of them smelling new things. The best photos come when you do it for them, not for you.
7. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Seriously, go in with ideas and a loose plan... but if you expect too much, you will end up disappointed and your kiddo probably won't have any fun.
Remember your expectations should be age appropriate too. Don't expect your baby to not be tired at naptime. Don't expect your toddler to not throw a tantrum over something completely irrelevant. Make sure you don't expect them to do things they aren't ready for developmentally either. There have been times where I have been disappointed when Jake wasn't ready for something yet. But it's all okay. Make sure your expectations are acheivable.
8. CAPTURE WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS.
Whatever age your children are at right now... they will change. They will always change. Capture what actually happens. Babies fall asleep and need diaper changes. Toddlers throw tantrums and need to ride in strollers when they get tired. Yeah, there are a lot of amazing travel photos of kids out there. But my favorite ones are the ones that are true memories. The ones who show who Jake is and how he was at that age. REAL LIFE.
Many of my favorite photos have come off my phone, but I do try to shoot with real camera equipment when possible.
OTHER CAMERAS/TECHY THINGS WE LOVE:
CAMERAS FOR EVERY SKILL LEVEL
Obviously a Canon Girl... so sorry if you like Nikon or others,
I can't recommend a system that I am not familiar with :)
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