7 Tips from an Avid Photographer Traveling with Kids

7 Tips from an Avid Photographer Traveling with Kids


That’s me! I could write a book about traveling with kids in general but since you’re all photographers too, I can certainly give you a few tips about making the most of your family vacation when one of your goals is to capture some amazing images.

1. Get up early, let the rest of the family sleep in or enjoy a few cartoons before breakfast while you get the best light to go on your early morning photo walk.

2. Give your kids point and shoot cameras, get them involved in the shoot. Depending on their age, give them a theme for the day, clues to look for, objects of a specific color, etc. You’ll all have fun looking at their pictures later and you may discover a natural talent!

3. Include your children in the pictures. If you are traveling in a different culture, try to capture those candid moments instead of posing them in front of a monument. I’d rather have a picture of my son eating a croissant in a Parisian café than a picture of him posing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

4. Work fast. You can’t expect non photographers (children or adults) to wait patiently behind you to compose the perfect shot every 15 minutes during your vacation. They’re on vacation too. Set some time aside without a camera. Just family time. Memories are all that really matter!

5. Kids can be a great ice breaker when you want to do people or street photography. You are a lot less threatening to strangers if you ask permission to do a street portrait when you have a coupe of kids by your side. This will also open your children’s eyes and make them appreciate different cultures.

Kids can be a great ice breaker when you do street photography. This is one of my favorite street images. I had a baby in a backpack carrier and a toddler by my side. You just have to work fast and not set your expectations too high.

6. If you are traveling with your children and your spouse or significant other, plan for a day just for yourself. Trade off. You get your photo day, he/she gets a fun day too when, in turn, you spend quality time with your kids.

7. Don’t set your expectations too high and be willing to make some compromise. Your kids will not be kids forever and you’ll have plenty of time to go on photo trips on your own after they move out. In the mean time, enjoy every minute, with or without a camera.

Please share your own experience in the comments!

Happy travels!

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Valerie Jardin I live and breathe in pixels! Photography is more than a passion, it's an obsession, almost an addiction. When I'm not shooting or writing, I spend my time teaching this beautiful craft during photo workshops all over the world! I am also thrilled to be an official X Photographer for Fujifilm USA. Visit my Website Follow me on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram. And listen to my Podcast!

Some Older Comments

  • Karen Franks July 11, 2013 10:16 pm

    This was a great article and very relevant for me as I love photography, and am always out and about and travelling not alone, but with my 4 children. It is the first time I have seen a photography article that addresses travel photography with children. You provided some great tips there and I will try them out on my upcoming trip to Albania this summer. However, I can't wait another 10 years for the kids to be old enough to stay at home while I go photographing the world, so will try as best as I can until that time.



  • Mirys August 27, 2011 03:08 am

    Hi Valerie!

    How great it is to find another mom + photographer out there! I was starting to think I might be crazy to travel alone with 2 kids and a camera!!! LoL!!!

    Thanks for your tips!
    I have some too and I write a blog about it (the Diary of the 3 Musketeers). If you are looking for our pics, you should see "mamarazzi week" and "Paris / Barcelone" before everything else. After all, I´m not JUST a photographer... and I talk about kids too! And messy days. And health food. And parties planning. And...

    If you manage some time to stop by I´ll be very happy to see you at the Diary (it does have a translation button).

    Kisses and blessings. And thanks again!
    (from Brazil)

  • Anne July 27, 2011 07:40 pm

    Great tips, especially nr 7, compromising! Nrs 4 (work fast) and 2 also apply to my holidays. We've just came back from a beautiful trip to Ireland, Wales and England. It involved a lot of driving (which my husband likes), and my boys every now and then asked for the P&S, to record their points of interest. Every now and then, while strolling through a town, I just took the P&S and left the big camera behind. Worked out fine.

  • Ash July 25, 2011 02:37 am

    Great tips.
    I followed most of these last summer whilst in Morocco with my wife, 2 sons, and mom. Worked out great.
    Another "compromise" I made was gear - rather than taking many lenses, I brought an 18-200 lens. Not as sharp or fast as some of my other lenses, but I figured that the savings in weight & time (changing lenses with a 1 yr old strapped to your back is no easy task!) made it worth it!

  • Angela (Toucan Scraps) July 25, 2011 02:02 am

    my kids take a point and shoot camera along. Even my toddler who has a toy one that says things when she clicks the button - she doesn't care that it doesn't actually take any pictures - she's joining in.

  • Valerie jardin July 22, 2011 02:23 am

    Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts on this!
    @David, I beg to differ. Street portraits are a part of street photography. A bit more challenging to achieve but still street photography. They have an important role to tell a story. A good mix of candids and street portraits is ideal. As the work of brilliant street photographers demonstrates (Vivian Maier being a perfect example).

  • Benn Brown July 19, 2011 06:34 pm

    Haha, great article!! I can only imagine the challenges of traveling with children and an addiction to photography!!! They do not always mix I think:) Great tips for those that do manage it.

  • John July 18, 2011 05:33 pm

    Nice tips, clean structure, and very good point of view.


  • shuaib July 17, 2011 02:21 pm

    Nice shot!!

  • david July 15, 2011 07:47 pm

    This is not actually street photography , rather a photo taken on the street. It ceased to be street photography as soon as the subject looked at you and realised you were taking his photograph.

  • John July 15, 2011 04:59 am

    Great post, I like getting the kids so involved.

  • Barb July 15, 2011 04:32 am

    Thanks for the article and tips. Number 7 rang true for me. I seem to always feel pulled by the desire to be with my family and the desire to be with my photography. Next trip, the kids get their own cameras!

  • jay mcintyre July 14, 2011 03:49 am

    Im really not sure that getting up before my children is all that possible!
    I like the point about working fast. I've learned that when I am out with my family, I cannot make 'getting the perfect shot' a priority. If it happens, it's simply a bonus.

  • Hannah July 13, 2011 05:55 pm

    p.s. love your photo of the busker!

  • Hannah July 13, 2011 05:53 pm

    I live in Germany & take photos for a living. Sometimes the kids get fed up with all my photography. So thanks for the good tips. I'll definitely try the idea of kid's themes and Kid's as icebreakers next time!

  • Marcy July 13, 2011 06:14 am

    Great advice. I've traveled with my kids to a lot of places. I have always just used a point and shoot--I wanted to get the shot quickly without making anyone wait. I will be bringing a dSLR on my next trip, and I like the idea of getting up early and taking my time. I always value the candids more than the ones when I line them up in front of some monument. Here's a favorite from Thailand: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcy0414/3858699334/in/set-72157622129875106

  • Carolyn Chentnik July 13, 2011 03:12 am

    Great article, Valerie!

    My Page

  • J.McGuire July 13, 2011 12:11 am

    Great Article, just got done packing for 30 days in Hawaii. Should be enough time for some great photos and family time. Just have to think of some excuses to slip away from the the In-Laws who live there.

  • Fuzzypiggy July 12, 2011 10:13 pm

    Another fantastic article with some easy to try out tips!

    My wife has the patience of a saint to put up with my wild trips all over the country to capture this and that!

    When we're on holiday we plan a day or two in advance, based on weather and what people want to do, when I can disappear for the day and when I need to keep the stock kit out for family days out. I often get up early and go out and about before breakfast to get those shots, they appreciate staying bed.

    I think I might get my little one involved a little more with a point-and-shoot, she does like taking pictures but like most kids it's a case of clicking at anything in sight, wonky shots, heads cut off, etc but I like the idea of a theme to get her to take a few more seconds on a picture. I have to do a 9-5 office job to pay for this hobby, I would prefer her to go do something a little more creative with her life than I did!

  • Rebecca July 12, 2011 06:37 am

    It wasn't in my plan to have a baby when I did, so I had to adjust every last goal ,plan and dream accordingly...but I didn't quit or give up. For Christmas my then 2 yr old daughter got a Vtech kids camera that is waterproof and breakproof thus far. I take her on my ventures and journeys with me w/ her little cam and I find at her age. (3 now) she will compose her own images,she will sit and stand and observe an object, scenery or surrounding before she actually snaps a photo. I am amazed at what she picks up and the things she sees.. through a childs eye with all her imagination that has opened my eyes to the little things I once walked right by!

  • Perry July 12, 2011 03:57 am

    I've found that nobody feels threatened by a guy with two kids in a stroller, even when he's setting up a tripod in front of their house.

  • RJ45 July 12, 2011 01:26 am

    Pretty much, you're awesome!

  • Jason Williams July 11, 2011 09:36 pm

    Thanks for the article. I like the sentiment and tone of your suggestions.

    As a new Dad (who would appreciate a holiday) I need to think about balancing off some 'me' time for photos with whilst spending time with my partner and little girl.

  • Slevino July 11, 2011 08:39 pm

    good advice! I've definitely used the get-up-early approach but when traveling with non-photographers I will plan what I want to shoot and let them know ahead of time how important a particular location is. I allot time based on that importance (I'll say "when we get to the Eiffel tour I would really like a half hour to wander around and shoot"). Therefore, they know before hand, that we are not going to run and gun so they plan accordingly.

    we have taken cameras so others could shoot, tennis balls to play "catch"in the parking lot, picnic lunches, books to read, etc, depending on the venue. Sometimes I get left behind for an hour or so and other times the group will go off on a hike while I shoot what i came for.

    Smetimes this works better than others but traveling with family is about balancing everyones desires through communication and compromise.

  • bycostello July 11, 2011 05:28 pm

    work fast for sure... regardless of kids or not.. in fact my mrs probably shorter attention span than the kids...

  • Matt Rondel July 11, 2011 05:07 pm

    I'm not a street or travel photographer but I do shoot a lot of horse events & rodeos and its because of my kids is why I took the plunge from hobby to professional. When I got out shooting my Son and Daughter bring their Fisher Price kid-tough cameras with them and we take turns with each camera and I teach them the basics of composition. At the end of the day its hard to tell who gets more excited to see what they took

    Here is a photo of my oldest (7) with her camera from across the arena:

    I am no way trying to advertise the Fisher Price cameras but I do highly recommend them to photographer parents
    Camera takes 4 AA's and has an sd card slot. Here's where you can find them on amazon:

  • Jeremy Verinsky July 11, 2011 02:56 pm

    I just went on an extended trip with my wife and our 6 & 3 year olds. I found that leaving my "big" camera at home and just bringing a point & shoot helped a lot too. The smaller camera is easier to pack, easier to tote around all day, less intrusive and my wife can pick it up and shoot with it comfortably. I also didn't have to worry about lugging all my expensive and heavy gear around all day or leaving it behind in the hotel :)

    I would however recommend bringing a P&S that will deliver the image quality you are happy with as a photographer, but remember the point of this trip is not making pictures but making memories. As Valerie said there will be time enough for those photo excursions, take this time to enjoy your family.

  • Doug Sundseth July 11, 2011 02:45 pm

    I see I'm not the only one who likes taking pictures of his child looking at the scenery:



    Good tips, especially about street photography, for which I can use as many tips as I can find.

  • Tanya Nizam July 11, 2011 02:04 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. As teachers, my husband and spend a lot of time on holiday, travelling with kids. Maybe we should write that book together :-)

    We love photography too and have found it to be a challenge but also a joy with kids around. It's nice to read what you write so succinctly. I need the confidence to just go ahead and do more of what I do on holiday with regards to photography.

    Thanks again

  • Nomadic Samuel July 11, 2011 12:30 pm

    These are great tips! I love how you suggest having the kids being involved with their own cameras. Instead of feeling bored watching what you do they're actively engaged & get to be just like Mom/Dad.

  • Parrothead July 11, 2011 11:11 am

    Very timely! About to take my first trip to HI and will be traveling with my 8 & 10 year olds and 70 year old parents. Thanks!

  • Kate71 July 11, 2011 10:43 am

    Good article!
    I often give my kids turns with the camera... sometimes it gives them an interest to look around when otherwise they may be complaining :) And I do like the way they see the world... you get some interesting pics.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck July 11, 2011 10:12 am


    Wonderful article with lots of great tips and suggestions. I like the idea of having a day for yourself, but it really depends on the age of the children. Sometimes you just have to slow down and let the kid do what they do best - Play! One can get the most amazing pictures of children just seeing and experiencing things with fresh eyes - like this simple beach shot!


  • scottc July 11, 2011 09:41 am

    We don't have kids, but this is a pretty cool article with great tips for those who do.

    Some of these tips can be applied to adults when traveling with a group.....

    A kids wondrous view of the world always makes a great photo.


  • Amy July 11, 2011 07:08 am

    Great advice! Thank you for the tips.