8 Tips for Family Photos on a Trip

8 Tips for Family Photos on a Trip

For me when I think of the holidays the first thing that comes to mind is family.  Directly after that my mind wanders to locations across the globe.  Basically because my family is spread out and we have not all ever lived in the same place.  There will come a time in the near future where my side of the family will be split up on four different continents! Returning to a childhood home in the states every year for the holidays just does not fit our expat family.  When it comes to planning our upcoming holidays my family has decided we will start choosing destinations where we can all meet.


Now not only will we be wanting to focus on our travel photography on our holidays, we will want family portraits at the same time too.  For us we never know the next time we will all be together in the same location, let alone that destination.  Time is precious on holidays and when it comes to family photos quality wins over quantity.  Take 600 photographs of your travels with family member scattered in the mix but do not get one great group shot of everyone and the opportunity is gone. How do you plan family photos when there is already so much going on with the holiday and travel plans?

Family Photos Wales

How to take Family Photos on your Travels

1. Communicate with your Group | Once everyone knows where you are going for your holidays it is time to start talking about the photographs.  My family knows that when I leave the house I will have a camera on me.  However, I cannot pretend that everyone is a mind reader and will know that I want to get family photos.  Some people will need reminding, others coaxing, and some will want fair warning so they can be feel amply prepared.

2. Prepare Before Leave | Any task will be pulled off more efficiently with before thought and preparation. Think about the location you are traveling to and how far your family will be traveling from.  It is best to not to ask your family to bring a lot of extra clothes or props just for a family photo.  With the right preparation and communication you can still pull off a rather stylized family shoot.

3. Stylize your Shoot | Think of a colour scheme that will work well with your group and let everyone know in advance.  However do not then leave it up to chance.  You either risk having everyone wear the same outfit or having one person looking out of place because perhaps they did not have dark trousers and wore light blue jeans instead.  The key is coordination and simplicity. For balance check ahead of time what everyone has and what they are thinking of wearing. The best way I have found this to work for my family is to think of a basic colour palette that you know people will have and then build on it with a little bit of colour.  Have different members of the group ‘pop’ that colour into their wardrobe in different ways.  If your ‘pop’ colour is green you may see it introduced in different items of clothing on each person and even in accessories like hats, hair pieces, jewelry, ties, scarves, and shoes.

4. Posing | Once you know what people are wearing you can work with colour balance and family relations to decide who will stand where in the photo.  Before hand look at family poses online that you like and bring it with you on your mobile device or printed out for reference.  You can try different poses but go with your favourite pose first. This will be beneficial if you are working with children (or adults) with short attention spans or a dislike for having their photo taken.

5. Be Efficient | If there will be children, older family members, people with special needs, or pets in the photograph, let them relax until you are read to start snapping away.  Let the other family members work with you to set up the group shot first.  Once you are ready to add everyone in then get ready to smile and aim to get ‘the shot’ there in the beginning.

6. Timing | It really is everything.  Think about the time of day you are shooting and how it will affect lighting and shadows.  Also take in account how the time of the photo will affect the members posing.  As my family photos involve children I like to take photos when they are not hungry, not tired, and before something that they can look forward to after the photos are finished.  My favourite time of day is the golden hour after the sun comes up. Others also like to shoot during the golden hour in the evening during the last light of the day.

7. Take the Shot | Whether you are having someone else take the photos or  you are using your camera’s timer or a remote, remember you are working with a group of people in one photo.  This means some people may be blinking or making a strange face in one shot, while looking great in another.  Start with having everyone feel comfortable and relaxed and then take a lot of photos to achieve a shot where everyone looks great.  The shorter the shoot the nicer it will be on those who feel uncomfortable or would rather be doing something else. Make sure to check the photos before you deem the shoot as ‘over’ to know you are satisfied with the results.

8. Have fun |  Once you have the shot you need then let your group have fun. Maybe break out some props to use or bring in elements from your trip to show off your holiday.  Let people mingle, be themselves, and pose with different people. This is a perfect time to get candids!

Family Photos in Wales

There you have 8 tips for family photos on a trip. Perfect for you to implement on your holidays this year!  I have other photography geared posts that you can check out including the How to Take your Family Portraits which you can read by clicking the image below.

howtotakeyourfamilyportraits_ACRblog (1)

If you would like to know more about photography, check out my B.Lux Online Photography courses at www.bonnie-rose.co.uk


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* Photography by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk

* Side by side vertical photos by Miriam Pinkston Photography © 2013
  • http://eatseedoblog.com/ Anna

    These are great tips Bonnie. I’m so self conscious when taking photos of other people, more so than people taking photos of me. But these are such lovely photos that I’m sure everyone in your family is so happy to be a part of them. I would love to do your course one day!

    • http://www.bonnieroseblog.co.uk/ Bonnie Rose

      Thank you Anna. It is really kind of fun when you start including everyone in on the photo plans too. I look forward to teaching you at B.Lux x

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  • http://lulug1975.blogspot.co.uk/ Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

    That first photo is really, really nice, but I love, love that very last one of you taking the photograph at the beach, brilliant!

    • http://www.bonnieroseblog.co.uk/ Bonnie Rose

      Yeah that is one of my favourites and I’m glad my husband was able to get a photo of me in action. 😉

  • http://lostintravelsblog.com/ Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

    such great tips bonnie! i can’t imagine trying to stylize a whole family! with each person it gets more and more challenging!

    • http://www.bonnieroseblog.co.uk/ Bonnie Rose

      Thank you Chelsea. I’ve found as long as you communicate effectively and give people enough time ahead of time it can work out quite smoothly. Definitely go with complimentary and simple as the motivation and you can find a way to get everyone looking smart together in a photo. :)

  • http://www.chicadeedee.com/ Dannielle @ Chic-a-DeeDee

    I can’t imagine getting everyone in my family to this, but it would be such a wonderful keepsake! I love it when people decide on a colour palette, it makes the pictures look so much nicer.

    • http://www.betsytransatlantically.blogspot.com/ Betsy Transatlantically

      haha I’m with Dannielle – it’s hard enough getting my family (and even harder to get Jon’s) to pose for multiple photos. styling them is totally unrealistic! but a girl can dream her Pinterest dreams :)

      • http://www.bonnieroseblog.co.uk/ Bonnie Rose

        No need to dream or put yourself with a pinterest expectations. Just go basic and and think very simple. You could even do something where if the girls of the family are easier to coax have the accent colour involved in the photo be on them in one way or another. It may seem very basic with just one person, but when you put the group together it will look like you put more thought and planning into it once you get the photos. x

        • http://www.betsytransatlantically.blogspot.com/ Betsy Transatlantically

          I like your optimism :)

    • http://www.bonnieroseblog.co.uk/ Bonnie Rose

      You can do it Dannielle. Like I said above go with basic colour palette that everyone would have and then to bring it together (So it looks harmonious) pop in a little of the accent colour through out the wardrobes. Obviously you can make it super stylised as well, or just keep simple and while it may seem quite casual with one person on their own, as a group it will look very put together. :)

      • http://www.chicadeedee.com/ Dannielle @ Chic-a-DeeDee

        It’s more getting them to even agree to a photo! Awkward brothers and father who hate being in pictures. Some day! Maybe I will guilt trip them next time I’m back in America.

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  • http://www.lifewithkolbi.com/ Kolbi Gray

    Your family is so photogenic. You all look great together. This is seriously a perfect christmas card photo.
    Kolbi | Life With Kolbi

  • http://www.therandomwritings.com/ Rachel G

    We just took our family pictures–most of my family is living out of suitcases right now, and since the majority of them are girls, a lot of them were wearing my clothes in order to semi-coordinate! The photos turned out well, though!