Are you going on a family vacation this summer and contemplating how to balance photography and family time?

Then I have some tips for you!

1. Choose your time wisely.

Spend your time shooting earlier in the morning or later in the day to take advantage of the best light.

kids playing in a field photograph by Kristen Ryan 2
little girl standing on beach picture by Kristen Ryan 1

2. Forget pictures for a while.

Put the camera away during the midday hours and give your family your undivided attention.

3. Find fun locations.

Seek out places that will be fun for the kids and good shooting opportunities for you. If they are safe and enjoying themselves, you can relax and take your time finding the best perspectives.

1 Jake! by Kristen Ryan
child in field with mountains in the background picture by Kristen Ryan 4

4. Embrace the light.

Do not pass up capturing fun memories just because the light is not ideal or the background is distracting. This is your vacation and memories should be captured even if the images will not fit into your portfolio.

5. Get some you time.

Take the opportunity for solo landscape or nature shoots before sunrise or get the kids to bed early and head out for the last light of the day. It will be worth your effort!

sunset landscape photo by Kristen Ryan 5

6. Quiet time.

Capture some of the quiet moments and downtime when your kids are relaxing after all the fun you have had all day!

black and white phot of kids in chair by Kristen Ryan 6

7. Safety first!

Keeping kids safe always comes first. Whether you are at the beach, hiking in the mountains, or out in public, sometimes it just is not safe to get the shot!

With 4 young kids, there are many times I have to miss a great photo opportunity because I must be 100% attentive for the sake of safety.

8. Get in the frame!

Capture some family shots or images with you and your kids or spouse. Pass off your camera to someone else or set up a formal shoot with a tripod.

Plan the shoot for early morning or evening when the sun is lower in the sky. Set up your tripod and camera settings and take some test shots of yourself or your spouse before you bring in the whole family, cutting down on the time that everyone is standing around waiting for you.

And let your kids take turns pressing the remote button. They will love it and be more invested in the process if you involve them in a fun way.

Remember that the best shot is not always the one with everyone looking at the camera smiling perfectly. Interact with each other and take lots of images. You never know which one will be the best!

self portrait of Kristen Ryan and her family
family portrait in window by Kristen Ryan 8