How to Take Better Travel Photos

Follow this advice from the winners of ROAM’s 2019 Photo Contest.

By Maryann Jones Thompson

One look through ROAM’s gallery of best family travel photos and it hit me: I gotta take better vacation photos!

Luckily, professional photographers are often willing to share their expertise. ROAM’s winners provided a variety of tips. The bottom line? Take a ton of pictures. Don’t pose. And, a phone camera might be all you need to pack.

And after looking closely at lots of photos, I’ve got another tip: Cropping matters. So much is always going on in a family shot that it is important to draw the viewer’s eye to what you’re really trying to show.

But if you’re like me and need all the help you can get, read on for more advice from our 2019 contest’s winning photographers.


Photo Tips from Winning Travel Photographers

“Put the camera away, have fun and enjoy the experience of the trip with your family. And be as social as possible with the locals – having your kids with you makes this easy, if not unavoidable. Once you do these two things, you’ll end up in situations where you can quickly take out the camera for a couple shots and the photos are bound to be amazing simply due to the situation you’ve gotten yourself into by living the moment!”  –  Liliia Sokotun, bring_baby_abroad

Let the kids take photos too, they have a different perspective and fun take on travels.” global_adventuress

“Get the shot as quickly as possible because when kids are traveling they are anxious, tired or curious and you can’t hold their attention for very long. Gotta get ‘em quick!  – Cyrus Krohn, cyruskrohn

“As a mom of twins, my best photo taking tip is to take a LOT of photos!  It never fails that in any given picture, one kid is smiling beautifully while the other is blinking or mid-sneeze!  In the next take, they switch places! So I always snap a bunch of photos at once so we are sure to end up with everyone looking good!” – Lissa, rootswingstravelthings

“Take a variety of posed and natural shots. You might like the posed shots for framing later, but the natural shots will hold the most meaning and memories.” – Stephanie Frias, familytravelnomads

“Keep your camera with you – and keep it charged 😉 And get down to the level of your kids for more interesting shots.”  the_sabbaticals

“Make sure your shots aren’t overexposed. The iPhone has a setting for this – you tap the screen while taking the photo and correct the exposure while you are shooting.” – Marco Campitelli, adventurecampitelli

“I’d recommend packing a wider or longer zoom lens to capture interesting frames while traveling, especially outdoors.  Having a telephoto lens can make a wonderful difference in the overall feel of your travel photography.” – Erika Orozco, erikaophoto

“Don’t just take posed pictures, take candid shots ‘in the moment.’ Let the kids run, play and just have fun… Also, be aware of your lighting. Overcast days are great for photos, as are mornings and evenings. Indirect sunlight keeps things less harsh.”  – Amy Allen, theallensvstheworld

“I take all my photos with my iPhone… I tend to take a few hundred, even a thousand on some trips…” – Heather, we3edwards_exploring

“Try to dress color-coordinated as it will look much better in the pictures… And get ready to give your best smile.” – Angie, vacationinfashion

“Think of the purpose of the photo when you are taking it. While traveling, the purpose of photography shouldn’t simply be getting a nice picture of your family or an attraction, which you should either have plenty of or be able to find on Google. So take pictures of the things that are unique in general or trigger your best memories. These will bring back good or funny memories that can’t be searched online… We loved our Sony NEX 5 – it’s a great compact travel camera and the newer models must be even better; ours sadly fell off the back of a horse, so we don’t recommend photography from horseback ;)” – Jose deCos, traveler_papa_jose

“Keep learning from those that do it better and keep researching what it takes to make great/captivating photos. You may not be able to tell you’re getting better, but you’ll see an improvement over time!” – Joyce Mark, oureveryjlife

 Maryann Jones Thompson  – January 2019

ROAM Founder & Editor in Chief   

After a thousand years in publishing as a business journalist and content strategist, Maryann brings her experience traveling as a backpacker, businessperson, expat and mom to writing and editing for ROAM. After traveling with her husband and kids to uncommon spots across six continents, she’s currently focused on finding ANY trip that’ll interest teens, hitting epic scuba spots, and expanding family-travel horizons in her native California and beyond.


© ROAM Family Travel 2019 – All rights reserved



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