6 Ways to Create Memorable Travel Photos This Summer


Oh, Summer. You have me feeling torn between carefree days of lounging poolside in a tropical location with a great book (and even greater friends) versus riding the rails through Europe with a full backpack and spirt for adventure.

You may or may not know this about me, but I am a huge fan of travel and believe it is good for the mind, body and soul.

Since it is the season when most travel plans are made and many of us go on road trips, catch a flight to a tropical destination, or cruise around our own towns or cities to create staycation adventures, you will want to document your travels because they are part of your family story that gets told through connection with the places you visit and each other.

Here are six ways to create memorable travel photos this summer:

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1.  Get the typical shot, then do something different. Capture the places you travel to by focusing on smaller, unique angles or details.  Sure, you will want to snap a shot of the span of the Golden Gate Bridge if traveling to San Francisco this summer.  After you do this, take a walk underneath the bridge at Fort Point and take a detail shot of the steel beams or the waves crashing against the wall.

2.  If you see a crowd, go in the opposite direction. I remember visiting the Grand Canyon on several occasions when I lived in Arizona. There were always large groups of people congregating in one area all trying to capture the same exact photo of the big hole in the ground.  Find a less populated spot and change your viewpoint for a less crowded location...and a more unique capture.

While she played with taking photos, I played with taking photos on film.

While she played with taking photos, I played with taking photos on film.

3.  Hand the kids the camera. You will be amazed at the things your kids will notice and capture when you hand them the camera.  It also gives them a sense of pride in being able to help document the places you go.

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4.  Move beyond the “Evidence Shot.” It's a beautiful sunset on the beach and you want everyone to know you were at this scenic spot.  Unfortunately, the shot is taken so far back to incorporate so much of the scene that you/your subjects are the size of your pinky finger. While this type of shot proves you were there (hence the name, Evidence Shot), why not take a more compelling photo?  The first one can be the gorgeous scenery and the second one (or two) can be a more close up shot of your subjects with the backdrop still in the frame but acting as a secondary element.

In the photo to the left, I get lost underneath a large hotel sign (the Evidence Shot), while my preferred way to remember this awesome hotel is by the bright colors and modern, fun decor (below).

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5.  Parents, Get IN The Photos

Scroll through any camera roll on a parent’s smart phone or the LCD screen on their DSLR camera and you’ll observe tons of photos of their kids, but where are those parents? It’s important to show that you were there, too. Your kids need to see you experiencing these adventures together, so use a self-timer or hand the camera to someone walking by and ask them to snap a photo of you all together. TIP: find another family and reciprocate by offering to take their photo together!

family of five on toon car at Disney CA Adventure Park

6.  Print those photos. You’ve enjoyed an adventure together and have the photos to prove it!

But, now what?

If you are like me, you have thousands of photos sitting on hard drives or camera rolls.  They quietly sit there, waiting to be printed into beautiful wall art or into keepsake albums we can flip through over the years to help us remember these special trips and adventures.  

I recommend creating a system of how to handle your photo collections and select a few special ones for printing.

The process you use can vary, but in general you want a system that allows you to cull and then organize your images based on what you want to do with them. You can start with categories such as tabletop prints, larger wall prints, albums, and so on.  I personally love albums and think they are the perfect way to highlight your family travels. TIP: keep your album design simple - use a white or black page as background, add 1-2 images per page at most, and limit the amount of text. By following these suggestions, your album will have a more timeless look, plus it will take less time to create, which means you will be more likely to follow through in making an album.


Whether your plans have you jetting overseas or camping in your own backyard, enjoy the adventures together!

If you found these tips helpful, please feel free to share with others.