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Flying Mom-tog: Tips on Photographing Your Family | Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Family Photographer

Updated: Dec 27, 2018

Are you the one usually snapping photos on family holidays? Do you struggle to find yourself in any of the snaps - apart from, maybe a faint shadow or vague reflection?..

Then read on, this blog is for you!

My personal goal within photography for the year was to ‘get real’ – i.e. set realistic goals for my personal projects and then maybe – just maybe – achieve them.

This mostly related to holiday photography – i.e. capturing our special family getaways and not just on my iPhone (where most of the photos stay forever, without seeing the light of a printer).

So, the first trip after having the epiphany and setting myself with a goal of taking more printable photos and printing them, I got down to business.

I survived an unwilling husband (my hubby is not a fan of posing or being in (too many = more than 1 per holiday) photos) and a hyper toddler and lived to tell my story.

7 Tips on Holiday Mom-tography:

Travel light

I have learned the hard way that taking the heaviest equipment (sometimes, more than 1 camera and several lenses!) is a sure way of never taking it out of the suitcase and ending up with mobile photos of the entire trip. So, take the camera you are most sure to use – don’t plan to learn how to use the Christmas gift in full Manual mode while you’re away, though, do give it a go for some shots. I have a brilliant point and shoot camera, which now comes with me on most adventures – it captures brilliant photos, has built in WiFi (a must for the social media addict in me) and bonus feature is the great video capabilities it has – I have recently been trying to take more of those.

Embrace the iPhone (other brands available)

I am in no way against convenience – heck, my phone’s Photos Album currently contains 38,617 photos and these will be mainly taken by said phone. As the saying goes ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’, so embrace that. Besides, modern technology is improving the quality of imagery taken by our handy little pocket friends. My favourite mobile editing app is Snapseed - it can be a little fiddly and more thorough than needed for a quick edit, but it's also pretty great for sprucing up those mobile pics, making them look near pro-grade - well, insta-worthy for sure! The below both taken with my iPhone and edited with Snapseed.

Strap Up

This is random, but important, protect your equipment – get a good, long and sturdy cross-body camera strap to ensure your camera doesn’t drop when you tend after your child and forget all about it (phones can conveniently slide into back-pockets). You can literally ‘drop’ it and it’ll securely hang down as opposed to bouncing off the pavement (never to work again). That’s all, simple, but just another way of ensuring the camera is there – for when you’re ready.


For me, there just seems to be no other way to approach toddler (21 months!) photography. Be prepared to have a lot of action shots, so try to line up the rest of the scene – make sure your angle is good, the background scenic(ish) and you’ve taken at least 3 snaps (semi-closed eyes are a killer!) to have a selection to choose from.

I guess, an important thing to remember is that this is your child – the little rascal, who will not sit still to let you enjoy that Aperol Spritz at a rooftop bar or octopus hot dog at a trendy food hall (true story), so why would you want (many) photos of them sitting still? Up your shutter speed, throw on some comfy trainers and chase after that toothy smile!

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Photographer, Nature, family, children, Lisbon, action, blogger, blog
He may not be looking into the camera, but he's in action, the back drop is gorgeous and this image brings back memories of that day and that moment.

Enjoy the Now

This is slightly off-topic, but a couple of months ago I went to see The Script (one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to – no joke!) and I was amazed at how many people weren’t really ‘watching’ and enjoying the show, but instead, filming it – some were even Skyping their friends (I am really behind the times!). Some of said friends on the other side of the Skype call were watching tv, by the way, but I’ve veered way off the point. My point is – don’t get too hung up on taking the perfect photo – or even any photo, set aside a few minutes per location to take some planned images and then put the lens away.

Make sure you’re enjoying the moment and making memories, be IN the moment with your family and don’t just remember the pretty picture.

Lisbon cable cars - captured by Aberdeenshire friendly family photographer
Enjoying 'The Now'

Get in the Frame!

One of the most commonly-voiced concerns I hear from parents when setting up the photo session (and sometimes even the time of one taking place is that they ‘hate’ being in photos. Another issue is when there’s one main ‘photographer’ in the family (usually this is mom). So do try to make time to get in the photos with your child – whether this means showing the camera into your partner’s hands and forcing them to press the button a few times (ideally, without cutting off your feet/hands/head, capturing you with eyes open and telling you if your dress is tucked in your tights (true story!)). Or at a professional session – remember, you can always ask the photographer not to publicly share the images with you in them, but your family will treasure these special moments in time forever. So jump in – hair done or in knots, whether wearing a ball gown or dressing gown – capture those memories.

Aberdeenshire photographer travelling with children, capturing beautiful lifestyle photography
A lot going on here - getting in front of the camera, doing my best to ignore the packet of corn puffs (in the moment and post-processing) and enjoying the moment too!

Print It.

So this is the bane of the digital age – social media, digital cameras and camera phones.

All of the above are amazing, but also mean that we rarely print out and display our images.

You had an amazing holiday, rocked all of the points above and some of your own and then let the photos sit on a memory card or CD or a hard drive of some sort – never seeing the light of day. Guilty! I have about three photo walls PLANNED for around our house. I am one of those ‘bootmaker without boots’ (as we say in Russia).

One great way to display your amazing holiday images is by setting up digital frames around the house – you can set them to rotate images and change those out now and then. Makes a wonderful gift to most too!

If you are a bit more creative, have time for a project and a few bare walls, a coordinated photo wall gallery could be an option too – one of my planned ones is a picture from every holiday we’ve ever been on – just need to get all the photos collected from all the hard drives I have lying around the house…

Of course, these are just my thoughts and come from my personal experiences – with one not-even-two-year-old. Your photo-taking opportunities and goals may be vastly different, but hope reading the above has given you some food for thought on how to make sure you come back from your holidays with a batch of lovely, printable, displayable images, reminding you of the places you’ve been with the people you love.

Questions? Thoughts? Tips of your own?

Please share, I always love to hear from other professional mom-tographer colleagues.

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