If you’re looking to create frame-worthy holiday card photos, look no further than your vacation itinerary! Follow these simple suggestions for fun, hassle-free photos that will fill you with family pride.

1. Seize the day.
Summer vacations are a great time to shoot candid holiday photos while capturing your family explorations, big and small. Make sure Grandma, Grandpa, and the youngest grandbabies make an appearance; multiple generations make your holiday card extra special for your family. Sometimes it’s even a good idea to utilize the photography skills of fellow tourists. Find someone who’s taking photos with a professional-looking camera and offer to take their picture, then ask them to return the favor.

2. Choose locations that tell your story.
Vacations invite endless opportunities to find settings that fit your family’s style. Whether it’s at the beach, on a walking trail, or visiting the local park, select a place that is close to your heart. Try taking your photos from unique angles to add interest to your images. For example, shooting from a low angle helps simplify distracting backgrounds and adds impact to the foreground.

3. Make use of natural light.
Shooting during certain times of day is essential if you want to take advantage of soft, natural light. For the most flattering photos, shoot early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when light is diffused and produces softer shadows or no shadows at all.

4. Dress for success.
Families look their best when everyone’s wardrobe is in tune with each other but not too “matchy.” Avoid wearing competing prints or patterns. Instead, choose a few colors that go well together and are appropriate for the location. For example, if you’re doing a photo shoot on a beach, beach ball colors work really well. (Red, white, blue, yellow.) Add a few color-coordinating props (like, well, a beach ball!) to complete your fun theme. There are tons of wardrobe ideas on the internet, so surf away. Be sure to select everyone’s outfit before you go on vacation, that way you’ll save time the day of the shoot.

5. Have fun!
Ultimately, the very best holiday photos are the ones that capture the essence of your family. So relax and have fun during the session – don’t worry if you’re looking away from the camera! Let your kids be themselves and goof around. Genuine smiles = genuine photos.

Remembering these simple tips will help you take better, more expressive holiday photos. Lastly, be sure to take lots and lots of pictures! You’ll have more to choose from, and you’ll also have a better chance of capturing a magical moment—when everyone’s eyes are open and the love for your family shines.

Can’t get enough summer photo fun? Check out how you can create a vibrant tropical photo book or add pom-pom flair to a photo pillow!