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One of my favorite activities to do when I travel with my family is to book a vacation photographer.

Not only do we get incredible photos of our entire family in amazing locations, but we also learn a lot of local tips and tricks from our photographer, read more now for tips on how to find the best vacation photographer for your next family adventure!

May contain affiliate links.

Why are Vacation Photos Important?

This week, my Facebook and Instagram feeds were flooded with photos of Notre Dame. It’s not every day that a national treasure goes up in flames.

And while I was devastated to see all the destruction, I was also heartbroken to hear that most of my friends regretted not “getting in the photo” in front of Notre Dame.

Many of them had cellphone photos of Notre Dame with random people in the background, but some of my friends hadn’t thought to get a photo of themselves in front of Notre Dame.

While that might not seem that important in the grand scheme of things, there’s something about having a photo of yourself with an iconic monument to prove to yourself that you were really there.

When I think about some of the trips I’ve taken, sometimes it’s kind of a blur. I mean, I like to be on the go and experience as much as I can.

But, when I go through my photos, I remember very specific details. I can smell the air, taste the food, and hear the city noises. It’s a flood of senses and memories.

I think of vacation photos as an investment.

When I’m old and grey, I want to look through my photos and jog my memory of the amazing adventures I had with my kids when they were little.

What’s the Best Way to Take Pictures on Vacation?

Whether you are traveling solo or with friends or family, taking photos on vacation doesn’t have to be stressful.

But, with a little planning, you can come up with a solid game plan for stellar photos.

INSTAGRAM INSPIRATION

When I’m traveling somewhere new, I like to scroll through Instagram to find cool and interesting photo spots.

Then, I save photos I like using the little flag button next to the photo. That way, I can pull up all my saved photos and create a list of the places I want to go and even possible posing ideas.

It saves me time on vacation because I’m not just walking around looking for cute photo spots.

Insider tip: Search hashtags for local photographers and see where they shoot.

BRING A TRIPOD

I’m one of those people who always feels a bit awkward posing for photos in public spaces.

But, as a family travel blogger, I’ve come to realize that most people don’t even notice someone posing for a photo. It’s so normal now for people to snap selfies or strike a pose at any point in time.

So, if you are feeling bold, set up a tripod and shoot away! It’s a great way to set up your shot and then you can just jump into the frame with a self-timer.

The only downside to this is that it takes a bit of time to get the shot you want.

If you are looking to hire a vacation photographer at Disneyland Resort in California, Adam & Claudia Photography is my top pick!
I used a photographer on my last trip to Disneyland to capture shots of “it’s a small world.” Photo credit: Adam & Claudia Photography

HIRE A VACATION PHOTOGRAPHER

I’m all about outsourcing these days! If you are traveling solo or your travel partners don’t want to be your personal photographer, just hire a vacation photographer for your photos.

Personally, I like to book 60 minute shoots somewhere that’s centrally located between a few different monuments or attractions.

I love hiring a vacation photographer when I’m traveling with my kids because we block out time for “good” photos, and then we just enjoy the rest of our trip knowing we don’t have to stop and take photos everywhere.

My kids love knowing they only need to be “camera-ready” for a short time.

How Do You Look Good in Travel Photos?

Yes, I have Googled this on several occasions.

It’s pretty frustrating to come home from your vacation only to realize that you look super frumpy or blah in your photos. That used to happen to me all the time.

So, here’s what I’ve been doing to battle that:

CHOOSE THE RIGHT CLOTHES

After scrolling through Instagram, I asked myself why I liked some photos over others. Most of the time, it’s because the people wore clothes that “popped” against the background.

So, if you are going to a beachy destination with lots of blue backgrounds, maybe wear something that’s a bold red or crisp white.

Or if you’ll be in lush greenery, maybe a bright pink or yellow.

And don’t forget to pack the right clothes for the weather.

We did a photo shoot in Paris and while I thought it would be warm, so I brought cute sleeveless dresses. It was FREEZING and I felt frazzled as I improvised..

I ended up wearing a jacket from Disneyland Paris and some pants that didn’t fit right. And every time I look at those photos, I kick myself for not packing warmer stuff that made me feel cute.

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I knew that the backdrop of this photo shoot was going to be green, so I picked clothing and a haku lei with bright colors to stand out. Photo credit: Kauai Jungle Tub

DO YOUR HAIR AND MAKEUP

Yes, even if you normally don’t.

With the lighting and editing, it’s easy to look a bit washed out. That’s why you might want to do full makeup and use colors that are a bit bolder or brighter than usual.

And hair can make a big difference, too. I used to just put it in a pony tail without realizing that it can look weird in photos.

Now, I usually pack a flat iron or curing wand so I have the option of wearing my hair down.

Another option is to wear your hair in a bun and then let it down for your photos. It usually produces beachy waves that look effortless.

If you really want to look amazing, go and get your hair and makeup professionally done.

I used to think that was a bit over-the-top, until I did it for a Kauai Jungle Tub photo shoot and the results were fabulous!

WATCH POSING VIDEOS

I never know what to do with my hands. And a lot of my photos are just me looking into the camera standing in front of a building.

I don’t like the way that looks when I do it.

So, I’ve started watching posing videos on YouTube to give myself ideas on how to look natural in my photos.

This is one of my favorite posing videos because it breaks down a few easy poses and it features Seattle bloggers/vloggers!

Watching how to pose videos have helped me figure out how to hold my arms, where to look, and how to stand in ways that flatter my body.

Why Should You Book a Vacation Photographer?

So, now that I’ve given you some tips for how to create your own amazing vacation photos, you might be wondering why you should hire a professional.

Here’s why:

INSIDER TIPS

No one knows the best places to take photos better than a local photographer!

Your vacation photographer will know all the best photo spots for the perfect angles, best lighting, and unique perspectives.

Plus, you can ask them about other cool photo spots and their tips so you can do your own photo shoot in other areas of the city.

That’s what we did in NYC. We chatted with our photographer during a photo shoot in DUMBO and he gave us tips for shooting on the Brooklyn Bridge, getting shots of the Statue of Liberty, and a few intersections for photos of monuments without all the crowds.

Getting posing tips is just one of the reasons you should hire a vacation photographer.
I love how Armando showed me exactly where to place our hands. Photo credit: Armando with Flytographer

POSING HELP

A good vacation photographer will also help you pose in ways that will flatter your shape. They want you to like your photos!

They can place you in the perfect spot and adjust your head and arms in ways you might not do on your own.

Your photographer has also probably photographed many people in these locations so they will have lots of posing ideas (and know what looks good!)

LEAVE YOUR GEAR AT HOME

Another reason why hiring a vacation photographer is a good idea is because you won’t have to lug all your camera gear.

My husband usually does our travel photography, but he carries a super heavy backpack with his nice camera and several lenses. After walking all over a city, his bag feels heavier and heavier as the day goes on.

Plus, if you are traveling with kids, you are probably already hauling a lot of stuff. We always try to lighten our load whenever possible.

It also lightens the mental load when you aren’t worrying about getting the “perfect shot” every place you go. Instead, you can just be present.

THEY ARE FUN + EASY!

I always treat vacation photo shoots as a fun activity. It’s like any cool tour or adventure. And that’s the attitude we take when I include one on our vacation itinerary.

What’s great is that your vacation photographer is in charge and you can just follow their lead while admiring the incredible scenery around you.

I like doing them on my first day in a new city because I can ask my vacation photographer for local tips and tricks. And I always ask about other cool photo opportunities in the area!

5 Tips to Find the Best Vacation Photographer

Ok, if you’ve gotten this far you are probably wondering how to even start choosing the right vacation photographer for your family.

Here’s how to narrow it down:

1. Their Photo Style Suits You

The very first thing I look at is their photography style. Are their photos edited in a way that looks moody or dramatic? Or are they more airy or playful?

And be sure to see if their subjects are mostly posed or if it’s more photo-journalistic.

Choose a vacation photographer that produces photos of the same vibe you’re looking for.

2. You Like the Locations They Use

Another tip is where they like to shoot. Do they mostly choose popular tourist spots or iconic locations?

Or, do they head into neighborhoods or hidden away areas?

Most vacation photographers have certain areas that they love shooting in and they know all the nooks and crannies. They also usually know of indoor spots in case of inclement weather.

Insider tip: If you want nice photos of the Eiffel Tower without crowds, choose a vacation photographer that often shoots the Eiffel Tower. They will know where to go more than someone who rarely shoots there.

If you need a vacation photographer in Paris, I recommend Olga with Flytographer!
Because our photographer worked with kids, she suggested our kids might have fun warming up in a Parisian cafe during the frigid weather! Photo credit: Olga with Flytographer

3. Their Clients Look Relaxed

A good vacation photographer will know how to put their clients at ease and make them look radiant in photos.

When you look through a photographer’s work, check to see if the expressions seem forced or if it looks like they captured a special moment. When people are comfortable, they let a little more sparkle come through!

If you are including baby or young children, find a photographer that specializes in those age groups. They will know tricks to calm your children and let their personalities shine!

4. They Have Detailed Testimonials

Nowadays, it can be hard to trust reviews of just about anything because you can’t tell if people are being paid to leave positive feedback.

That’s why I like to dive into testimonials from clients. If someone leaves a detailed story about their shoot or raves about something specific, I know I can trust what they say.

Some important things to look for is how long it takes them to deliver the photos, the communication before/after the photo shoot, and if the clients liked their photos.

5. You Can’t Stop Thinking About Their Photos

I admit I can obsess over things I’m excited about. Vacation photography is no exception!

I know I’ve found the right match when I can’t stop thinking about a location or a feeling I got when looking through their portfolio.

And that excitement translates to our own photo shoot because I have confidence in our photographer.

It’s like finding the perfect hairstylist, an awesome cafe, or a new friend that “gets” you!

If you are looking for a vacation photographer in New York City, Armando from Flytographer is fantastic and captures the best vacation photos!
We loved working with Flytographer in the DUMBO area of NYC last Spring! Photo credit: Armando with Flytographer

Why My Family Uses Flytographer

While we’ve used a lot of vacation photographers throughout the years, some of my favorite experiences have been through Flytographer.

They are a concierge vacation photography website where you can find photographers almost anywhere in the world.

Flytographer makes it easy to choose the right photographer for your vacation destination. You can read all about their photography style, favorite places to shoot, and scroll through their portfolio.

And the booking process is simple and quick. Choose the photographer you like and pick your preferred dates. Then, Flytographer will check availability and get back to you with a proposed plan.

If your favorite photographer isn’t available, they will check to see if another photographer can do your shoot.

What I love most about Flytographer is that they are FAST! We sometimes receive our photos before the end of our trip!

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Author

Marcie writes the family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. When she's not traveling the world, she's home in Seattle with her husband and two little boys.

16 Comments

  1. I often forget to take photos while on vacation. The ones I do take don’t have me in them. Hiring a vacation photographer is a genius idea that I will be using the next time we travel.

  2. SUCH great tips!! I have always wanted to hire a vacation photographer because either me or my husband is missing from the photos we take ourselves!

  3. You are talking to someone who even forgets to take family potraits. .lol .. THis would be a great idea to make sure to make the vacation even more memorable.

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