Laid Back Photo Tips for Your Beach Vacation

laid back strategies for beach photos

easy photo tips for family beach vacationIf you go by the calendar, spring has officially sprung but it was 24F this morning when we left the house and my 3-year-old was outraged that he still had to wear a coat. Who can blame him?

Thank goodness for our winter break retreat to the beach in Aruba or this long extended winter would be even harder to stomach!

And without my photos, our week of warmth would be a much more distant memory.

Capturing beach vacation photos as a parent doesn’t have to be a big deal though. I have a few of these vacations under my belt now and have perfected some laid back photo strategies.

1) Bring three cameras
DSLR, waterproof point-and-shoot and iPhone (see my more detailed suggested family vacation packing list).

2) Carry the point-and-shoot and iPhone with you all the time
Use the point-and-shoot in and around the water.  Even out of the water a point-and-shoot camera is great for when you don’t want to get your iPhone covered in sand! Use your iPhone for everything else.

3) Only bring your DSLR out for special trips and one or two times at the beach
The rest of the time you can relax without worrying about whether your camera is safe, dry and sand free!

Here are some of my favorite shots from each of the cameras I packed for my family beach vacation.

The beach. The clarity and shallow depth of field of the DSLR can’t be beat.

family on beach caribbean

I love this moment with my two boys playing together in the sand. Yes, the beach really was that empty, even during winter break.

beach photo tips family vacation aruba

A different beach with a more rocky coastline gives a different character.

family vacation photo tips beach

One of the special trips we took was to explore real live bat caves.
family photo tips caribbean


Sand angels! The iPhone lets me easily capture spontaneous moments and then get back to playing.

sand angels aruba family vacation tips

The bat caves. Even with my DSLR out, I also like the wider angle of the iPhone.

iphone for wide angle photos beach vacation tips

We ended up on the beach late one afternoon with gorgeous diffuse light. I didn’t have my DLSR with me and the waterproof camera was out of batteries! After a moment of disappointment, I ended up getting some of my favorite photos from the vacation on my iPhone, including this magical and totally un-posed moment.

sunset photo aruba family beach vacation

This photo was taken just moments before the DSLR photo above. You can see that each camera gives photos of a different quality and character.

iphone beach photos
Waterproof point-and-shoot

These are the photos that you can’t get with any other camera!
Liam loved going down the water slide. I put the camera on burst mode  to capture exactly the right moment!

waterproof camera point and shoot water slide photo

Splash! I love that the waterproof camera lets me capture the joy of playing in the water.

waterproof camera kids

One of my favorite sibling pool photos.

kids in pool waterproof camera

Don’t forget the beach!

waterproof camera for beach point and shoot

Note: I have come to see a waterproof camera as an absolute essential for the family beach and/or pool vacation, especially if your kids love the water. Chances are, if you’re heading for the beach, your kids love the water, and you’ll want to capture their joy and excitement. The moments you can capture with a waterproof camera that you can’t with any other camera are priceless. For more tips, check out my beach vacation photo tips and my waterproof camera tips.