If your kids are anything like mine, they’re probably not so thrilled about having their fun interrupted for the sake of another boring photo.

Especially since they relate my camera to me working. I’ve had to learn to get super crafty about my approach to family holiday photo taking so that I don’t end up with a whole bunch of fake grins, awkward grimaces and cranky kids.

The first thing I commit to is NOT taking my camera (phone or other) with me everywhere we go.

Instead I choose specific outings or times to bring it along and at all other times I aim to be 100% present with my people. This way they don’t feel like everything is about the photo and I’m not distracted by ‘getting the shot’.

When I do bring my camera, I rarely ask my kiddos to sit a certain way, smile at me or act and do anything unnatural.

Rather, I encourage them to be themselves, be led by their curiosity and become even more involved in what they’re doing.

I like to ask specific and leading questions (what have you got there? can you see that big wave coming?) and invite them to try new or spontaneous things. Like let’s run up behind Dad and scare him..

Sometimes I play along beside them and sometimes I just take a few steps back and document their actions. But, I never make it about the camera or the photo.

And while it doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have, there are some basic techniques you can apply to improve your holiday snaps. I hope you’ll give them a go.


Horizons – it might seem simple but keep them straight.


Get up close and photograph the itty bitty detail. A shell, a little hand holding a special rock, flowers or plants that represent your environment, sandy toes, cheeky smiles.


Go wide. Invite your kids to run free and then move yourself far enough back to get the whole scene in.


Light. This is a big one and might need a post all of its own. At a minimum think about where it’s coming from and how it’s falling across your subject.


Composition, focal point and leading lines.  Considering all of these elements are so important and can make the difference between a really interesting photo and a totally yawn worthy one. Not everything has to be centred in the frame and the rule of thirds is a really helpful concept to keep in mind.

Most of all, have fun! Technical perfection isn’t everything. I’d always choose a happy or meaningful photo of a ‘good’ photo any day.

And I bet if you ever had to delete all of your gazillion photos except one, you’d save the one of your kids beaming with natural exuberant happiness. I know I would.

Love Ingrid x

If you have a question about Family Photography or would like to connect, I’d love to hear from you!

[pp_gallery id=”7304″ style-id=”54c26f09-5d74-4fef-9df9-f5133b634f3b”]

Share this story