How to shoot vacation portraits – Tips and Tricks

vakantieportretten-6 Often I get positive reactions when I show my vacation pics. And then I am not talking about the little projects I tend to do while we are on vacation. Of course we, my wife and I, take the standard photos and portraits but with a few little tricks I try to do just this little bit extra and make them a bit more special. It can be something as simple as using a flash on a bright sunny day or picking a different view point. A nice example is a shot of me made by my wife while she was sitting inside the car and I was preparing my gear at the rear of the car. She captured a bit of the landscape and showed me whilst doing what I like doing.

Landscapes and surroundings

Below you will find a few other examples of standard vacation portraits with just a little bit extra. Just by making sure you get a good proportion of the background (landscape) in your picture you can show where you were, what you saw and you have proof that you were there (in my case my wife) (btw: I just realize that in all these shots my wife is holding a some sort of camera, hmmm)


And of course it isn’t a necessity to show a large view, you can choose to show a part of the surroundings such as a wonderful tree in Kenia. Or you just show a part of a plane so your audience knows that you were at the airport (for this shot I used my flash to make sure that the light inside would match the light on the outside (fill flash)). The shot on the right shows how you can use a person as some sort of frame and that it is not necessary to show the person in full.

So there is more than one way to show where you were during your vacation. Dont be afraid to show people from a distance if you think it is more important to show your surroundings or to give your audience a taste of the atmosphere. Of course there are rules and do’s and don’t but if you ask me, during your vacation that is all b*llsh!t.

As long as you create a good memory and nice shots it should be fine. If you disagree you might consider to become a travel photographer for a living. But all that on a side note.

Car shots

vakantieportretten-8 vakantieportretten-7 That reminds me of something else. Of course it is not allowed to make photographs while you are driving a car (at least it is not in The Netherlands). But regardless the looks I get from the misses I tend to make a lot of photos while I drive my car. I think it is always fun to shoot my daughter who is the sweetest kid you can imagine when we are going for a long drive. And now she is getting to an age where looks are getting important so sometimes it looks like she is modelling in the back of the car when i try to shoot my typical car vacation portraits.

Recurring Themes


Something else I do whilst on vacation is recurring themes. For example I tend to place my daughter in front of a shopping window. This was all based on a photo that I shot several years ago while she was looking at a pair of shoes (previous photo). Basically what you are doing is shooting street photography photos. And by repeating this on every vacation it might become a returning theme. There are many situations you can think of that can become your theme, it’s all up to you.

Or you shoot your girls as fashionistas while they are shopping

While operating or showing fast vehicles..

Another theme that I love but is not always possible to shoot, is shooting my daughter while she is at the airport walking on the escalator with her little trolley. I love the lines and the atmosphere (but I don’t like other people in these shots (and that is the part that makes it hard to shoot))

globetrotter vakantieportretten-38


Another theme that keeps me busy during my vacation: is shots that have to do with water. I make sure I always travel with or a waterproof camera or a underwater house for my body. This has several advantages. First of all you don’t have to worry about rain and bad water, while on the beach a waterproof camera is better protected against sand, and above all you can shoot photos while you are in the water or even better while you are underwater.

And once you are at home you can use some simple editing tricks to make those underwater shots extra special, but more on that can be found in other blog posts. While you are in the water there are plenty more things that you can do. Last vacation I got the idea to experiment a bit with shots where something is flying towards the camera. (a frisbee, or water, your kid on the water slide, etc)