10 ways to take amazing holiday photos!

10 ways to take amazing holiday photos!

This is a guest post from Rebecca Allen of Becca Allen Photography on taking great holiday photos. 

I was so happy when Emma asked me to share some suggestions for beautifully capturing your holiday moments! I am committed to documenting the everyday moments for our family and I love the fun I’m able to take photos when my kids are home from school and we’re spending more time together.

Whether you’re having an adventure-packed, see-the-world kind of holiday or an easy breezy few months at home, you’re making history and memories that deserve to be documented so you and yours can relive and enjoy them for years to come! We are only given 18 summers with our children and gosh – 18 is not a lot!

Give some of these tips a shot and see how beautiful your holiday can look in photos!

1. Sunlight!!

Photos - sunlight
Use the light!

The days are long and the sun can be harsh – but that’s part of the story of summer – and if you wait until the soft beautiful light of the evening’s golden hour to take your pictures – you’ll miss all the action!

Try to shoot with the light behind or to the side of your subject, you’ll have all the brilliance of the sun, but can avoid the raccoon eyes or squinty faces of overhead or front-facing light. This image is a perfect example of midday side light – it’s still harsh as you can see by the shadows on the ground – but my daughter’s face is evenly lit and she’s able to look at me without squinting.

2. It’s all about perspective!

Photos - perspective
At their level

Get down and shoot at eye level with your subject! And then for extra credit, go low or go high! My children and my clients know that half of our session I’m either on the ground doing the Army crawl or perched on a ladder (or at least my tiptoes) to get more interesting angles.

Here’s a worm’s eye view of a little guy discovering a mushroom and then a bird’s eye view of the business of Pokémon cards.

Photos - perspective
A different perspective

3. Capture and Freeze the Motion!

Photos - slow motion!
Camera, action!

If you’re using a camera that gives you control over your shutter speed, use it to choose how you want to tell the story of the movement you’re capturing. A slow shutter speed captures the motion – you see the blur and it gives your images energy and makes them appear to move in front of you. If you want to stop the motion in front of you, choose a fast shutter speed and freeze time a fraction of a second at a time!

The children on the playground turning wheel are blurred with a 1/30 second shutter speed. The carnival ride is frozen at 1/500th of a second.

Photos - fast motion
Freeze motion

4. Details, Details, Details!

Photos - details
The simplest things

Capture the big picture, but don’t overlook the details. When I’m photographing my family, I often think of how I want an image to make me feel when I look at it in 20 years. I’ll want to see the whole scene, but it’s the details that bring out the emotion for me. The way they dig their toes into the sand, awkwardly grasp their crayon, or stick out their tongue when they’re concentrating – images of these little details are guaranteed to melt your heart in just a year.

This simple image highlights my little girl’s delicate neck and her little topknot is enough to make me teary just a few weeks after taking this photo.

5. Don’t forget the journey!

Photos - journey
We’re off!

You may be setting off on a wild adventure – but don’t forget to capture the journey! You’re guaranteed to deal with tears and laughs and messes along the way – and these are all hallmarks of traveling with littles. Make sure you take photos of what travel was like when they’re young so you can appreciate the dead silence when they’re older!

6. Inside, outside, upside down and inside out!

Photos - inside
Indoor madness!

Summertime often means outdoor fun, but things can get crazy indoors as well. Maybe you’re all crammed onto a hotel pull-out couch or maybe it’s too hot outside and everyone’s climbing the walls and enjoying the air con. Make sure take photos when the crew is housebound as well.

7. In the bad times too . . .

Photos - tantrums
Meltdowns are memories too!

Someone’s going to have a breakdown at some point this summer. It’s part of the story and you should document it! They likely won’t thank you later – but you’ll be glad you have some photos to laugh about later.

8. The golden hour

Photos - golden hour 1
Sunset gold

If you want the gorgeous light the pro photographers dream about, aim for golden hour. Twice a day you’ll get gorgeous, delicious light in the hour or so surrounding sunrise and sunset.

Place your subject in front of the sun and overexpose your image so that your subject is properly exposed. The results are swoon-worthy – and explain why I have been known to set my alarm for 0400 for a photo session!

Photos - golden hour 2
Capture the light

9. Protect your gear!

Photos - DiCAPac
Protect your gear!

Whether you’re hitting the slopes or the beaches, sand and moisture can be death to your gear. A relatively inexpensive solution is to grab a protective case similar to this from DiCAPac – they have sizes to fit anything from your phone to your giant DSLR.

10. Make it a project!

Photos - alphabet project
U is for Umbrella

I hear all the time from friends and clients: “But we’re so boring – there’s nothing to photograph!” If you’re committed to documenting your family this summer but are worried you won’t have anything to shoot, choose a project to help keep you inspired and motivated:

  • 100 Days of Summer – photograph something – anything – every day for just 100 days.
  • An Hour a Day – Take a picture on the hour every hour for a day. You don’t have to be creative – just capture what’s happening throughout the day.
  • Create a Holiday Bucket List – Just shoot your way through it! Here are some ideas to get you started! Beach time, high dive, ice cream, fireflies, parade, fireworks, cartwheels, carnival/amusement park, sporting event, outdoor concert, painting, sidewalk chalk, bubble bath, blowing bubbles, riding bikes, hiking, trampoline, skipping rocks, river wading, kayaking, paddleboard, water skiing, dance party, s’mores, croquet, frisbee, puppies, baking, sprinklers, berry picking, kite flying, fishing, library, sleeping in, camping, mud puddles, picnic, carwash…
  • Shoot the Alphabet – This is a great summer-long project that will get the kids involved. Work your way through the alphabet creating an image that represents each letter.


What else can you think of?! We’d love to see what you capture this holiday.

This post is part of You Baby, Me Mummy’s List Linky!



You Baby Me Mummy
Emma Morrell
Emma Morrell

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  1. Laura
    8 July 2017 / 16:42

    Love these wonderful tips! Will try to use them!

  2. 11 August 2017 / 00:26

    Absolutely love this! Some fab advice for better photos, and love the suggestions for different photography projects to try. x #TheListLinky

    • admin
      13 August 2017 / 14:44

      Thank you Madeline!

    • admin
      15 December 2017 / 16:48

      Thanks! I have to go back to these tips before every holiday to remind myself of what to do! Some people are natural born photographers but I am definitely not one of them lol

  3. 12 December 2017 / 15:30

    Oooh, these are awesome tips. I have a great camera, but I don’t really know how to use it so I’m always shooting on auto XD

    • admin
      15 December 2017 / 16:50

      Auto is my MO! I particularly liked these tips because they aren’t just about exposure and aperture and are also about composition etc.

  4. 12 December 2017 / 23:17

    Some excellent tips and fab ideas for getting your creative juices flowing. I love the idea of doing 100 days of summer and a bucket list or alphabet of photos. Brilliant! x

    • admin
      15 December 2017 / 16:51

      Weren’t they lovely ideas? I need to re-read this post for the New Year.

  5. 12 December 2017 / 23:47

    Definitely some great ideas here I will use in future. Fab post. One saved for future reference!

    • admin
      15 December 2017 / 16:53

      Thank you! Look forward to seeing you back here when you come back to check it out 🙂

  6. admin
    15 December 2017 / 16:53

    Haha I am terrible – a selfish reason to get Rebecca to guest post for me!