10 Must Capture Family Vacation Photo Ideas

When I had my first child, I wanted to capture EVERYTHING she did.
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But I was rusty, and my camera was a low-quality point-and-shoot. It didn’t stop me, but I longed for a better camera. For Christmas after my second child was born, my husband gave me a DSLR.

I was THRILLED, but intimidated.

My DSLR took infinitely better quality photographs, but I wanted to learn how shoot in manual and make sense of all of the online tutorials available. I took an online class and read, and read, and still read posts and articles by professional photographers to keep improving my photography skills.

One thing that seems to be consistently shared is that you need the right lens for the type of picture you’re trying to make. That’s my current hunt—to find the right lens for my use. The lens I want requires an INVESTMENT. Not one I’m quite ready to make, but I was impressed to find it on KEH Camera for $800-$500 less than other online retailers.. I’m not afraid of pre-owned camera equipment from KEH Camera because they only sell carefully inspected (10-point process) pre-owned gear, and they clearly identify the “grade” they’ve given the gear and equipment when you buy. (See the end of this post for an exclusive discount for our readers. KEH Camera sells more than just lenses. Accessories, cameras, bags, and tutorial books! You can even sell your used gear to them.)

No smoke and mirrors. No crazy click-hoops to jump through. Straight forward info so you can decide what level of wear you are considering.

I still shoot with a mix of iPhone and DSLR because I love to capture everyday life with my family. (Lots of photos of pancakes and Legos.) But I LOVE to capture our family trips through photos.

Family trips are the exact opposite of everyday life, but they provide experiences and events that give you a chance to capture the essence of your family’s personality and habits.

Here are my 10 must-capture family vacation photos:

10 family travel photos to capture:

The journey.

My kids are pumped the day of the trip. A roadtrip in the car? YES! Airplane peanuts? OMG! We get to ride the airport shuttle!? IT’S CHRISTMAS. Also, I’m a sucker for the little details around and the fact that my son was THRILLED when his sister loaned him her tiny pink backpack to carry.

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The scenery.

Keeping the camera pointed at your loved ones is no-brainer. But capturing the scenery and the “vibe” of your destination will round out your memories down the road. (This is the stuff that I would love to capture with a better lens from KEH Camera.)

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Their reaction.

As a parent, you can see the excitement brewing. You know what’s going to blow their mind as the moment approaches. Snap a TON of photos as the moment approaches and passes and among those 20-30 (yes, really) photos, you’ll capture THE MOMENT.

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The action.

Kids are always on the move—always surrounded by something to climb, kick, toss, jump on/over/into. Let them play. Sit back and watch for them to immerse themselves in an activity and start snapping away without getting their attention. These are the shots that show their personality and often the scenery of your destination.

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The downtime.

Every family vacation includes downtime. Little kiddos end up in your arms. Shared beach houses are great for puzzles and learning Sudoku.

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The EPIC, unique-to-destination, experiences.

The stuff that everyone captures because everyone loves it. It’s Old Faithful in Yellowstone, Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland.

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The food.

Don’t roll your eyes. Food evokes memories and tradition. Heading to the Tower Falls gift shop in Yellowstone to get ice cream. S’mores on every camping trip. Coffee on the beach. Tradition!

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The standard everyone-stand together-and look this way shot.

Because, Christmas cards.

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A selfie.

To prove you were there.

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The homecoming.

Returning home is the sweetest part of traveling. This photo of my dog lounging on our camping laundry is one of my favorites. She is no longer with us, and when I took this, she was too old to camp comfortably with us any longer.

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Family travel photos are my FAVORITE. It’s proof that we occasionally do cool things.

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