Getting professional photos during our family holidays has never really been something we’ve considered. It’s not that we were opposed to it, we just hadn’t thought of it. We have a decent camera and have always enlisted the help of fellow tourists to take pictures of the whole family. In all honesty, we have been content enough with having the majority of our pictures be of the kids or just one parent. Then we met Jake and Dannie…
We have been long time followers of Jake and Dannie on Instagram and it just turned out we were going to be in Rome at the same time. We contacted them with the intention of meeting up to let our kids play together and to enjoy the company of another travelling family.
After a couple of chance encounters with them, we finally set a time to get together. They were gracious enough to offer to take a few shots of us before we headed out on our adventure for the day. Of course, we accepted! After seeing their beautiful pictures on Instagram, nobody in their right mind would turn down that offer.
We met them around 8:30 in the morning at the location they suggested near the Colosseum. After taking a few family shots of us, we tried one more location nearby. They had already scouted the locations and knew exactly where to go.
During the photo shoot, the kids seemed to be getting along rather well, so we were excited that they wanted to join us for our adventures that day too. We had planned on renting bikes and biking some of the Appian Way. After getting our bike rentals, complete with child seats and helmets we were on our way.
The kids loved riding on the bikes and exploring on foot together. We even managed to get a few more pictures riding our bikes. These shots were some of our favorite from our entire month in Italy. We had a vision of being more active with our kids on this trip.
The pictures they took of this day are not only some of the best family photos we have but we feel they are so representative of us and our passion for active travel.
Taking a look back through the pictures we have from that one day, we would highly recommend having professional pictures taken during your next family holiday.
To help you be prepared for your photo shoot, we asked Jake and Dannie for a few tips:
5 Tips for Taking your Family Vacation Photos with a Baby or Toddler
As parents and professional photographers, we know that kids can throw a wrench into a shoot. There’s no magic formula to guarantee that everything goes well (with or without kids). But if you prepare yourself mentally and physically you can improve the odds that your family will enjoy themselves and your photographer will capture more smiles than tears.
1. Earlier is Better!
If you ask your photographer about the best time for a photoshoot, he or she will always tell you that the morning or the evening is best because they want that golden hour light. Opt for the morning! Children, especially babies and toddlers are more alert in the morning and you will get better behavior if they aren’t feeling sleepy yet. We’ve done plenty of sunrises and sunsets with our own daughter and with the children of our clients, and we can say unequivocally that we capture more baby smiles in the morning.
Also, since you are probably vacationing during the summer months, it is best to get the shoot wrapped up before the sun gets high. Between harsh shadows and shiny, sweaty skin, it’s hard to argue that you and your kids will look and feel better early.
There can also be a dramatic difference in the crowds, especially if you choose to have your photo shoot at a popular landmark or attraction. Few tourists mind staying up until sunset to explore a city, but many will balk at the thought getting up early on vacation. Enjoy having the city to yourselves! Just don’t skip breakfast.
2. Dress your Baby in Layers (and Bring Extras)
Somehow the weather seems to change faster when you’re on vacation! It might be cool when you set out then warm up quickly as the sun gets higher. Or it might be the opposite. Also, did you know that toddlers sometimes get dirty? We’ll bet you did!
As an added bonus, adding and removing layers can infuse a little variety into the photoshoot and keep it from looking monotonous. With a change of clothing on hand, you can go ahead and get that cute ice cream shot without worrying too much about trying to hide a big stain for the rest of the hour!
Oh, and diapers. Bring extra diapers!
3. Toys and Snacks
A lot of the best baby photos capture little ones following wherever their curious hearts take them. Sometimes, however, you’re going to want them to interact with you. What’s a family photo without the rest of the family, after all? It helps to pack a little something to keep their attention.
An ideal lure is something they are familiar with that you know they will like (a toy or a favorite snack) and small enough that Mom or Dad can palm it or stick it in their pocket. Even if your kids are old enough or cooperative enough that they can participate without temptations, it helps to bring snacks just to keep them from getting hungry and grouchy. Kids don’t “get” photo shoots, so it’s nice to reward them with something they enjoy.
4. Plan for your Child’s Unique Personality
You know what your little one enjoys, so plan accordingly. If your little princess loves castles, dress her up and go to the castle (or “castle” if you know what we mean). If you have an animal lover, maybe a trip to a park with a duck pond. In other words, if you want photos of your family having the vacation of your lives, make sure your child is having the time of her life.
Your photographer probably has tricks for getting kids to look at the camera, but after one or two shots like that, you’re going to want to see some excitement in those little eyes. On the way to the shoot, talk about the photography, but also about the fun activities your kids will look forward to.
5. Be Happy
Your children can sense your mood, and they will react to it. We know: you got up early, did your makeup and got the whole family dressed up. Then Timmy threw a temper tantrum because you wouldn’t let him roll around in a puddle.
Be prepared to keep a positive attitude and adjust to the situation. Instead of getting frustrated about the problem, get excited about something else. Your kids will get excited too. We’re always amazed how many problems can be solved by rolling a ball or singing a song. The short attention span might be annoying when you want to sit down and read a book, but it just might save your photo shoot!
Another tip: our daughter is surprisingly camera aware for a one and a half year old, and she loves it when we show her the pictures on the back of the camera. She points at the picture and identifies everyone she sees. Try asking your photographer to show your child the pictures and let he/she know what a good job they are doing. You never know, you might just have given birth to a natural performer!