6 Reasons to Arrange a Professional Family Portrait Session on Your Next Vacation

Let’s face it, most family vacation photos usually consist of a ton of selfies, some cell phone pics of the kids playing and a few standard pose, smile & snap shots trying to show off a location or attraction you visited. Parents usually spend way too much time with their phones or cameras in their hands trying to capture every moment of their vacation with a series of less than perfect photos (too dark, not in focus, terrible composition & the list goes on), have everyone awkwardly standing in straight line staring right into the camera smiling or someone is always missing out of the photos as they’re the one taking them all!

My solution is to just hire someone else to take your photos! That doesn’t mean having someone follow you around taking pics the whole time. You just need one solid session one afternoon during your trip to get a whole series of beautiful photos.

It might sound kind of biased coming from a photographer but it’s something I genuinely do believe in. We ourselves have hired professional photographers on our family vacations many times including in Havana (Cuba), Toronto (Canada) & Bangkok (Thailand). I realized those session gave us so much more then just beautiful photos. We don’t travel with our professional cameras and are happy to hire other pros in our destination to do what they do best on their home turf.

Here are my top 6 reasons I encourage everyone to hire a pro and do a family or couple’s session of photos on their next vacay!

1) Timing

Often people are busy in their normal at home everyday lives with work, school, sports/hobbies, social events and other activities that it can be challenging to coordinate schedules to find the time to do family pictures. On a vacation you have everyone in one place so take advantage of it!

2) Excuse

There is definitely just something fun about doing things on vacation you wouldn’t normally do everyday at home. A professional photoshoot is no exception! It becomes a fun vacay activity you can plan and look forward to which is especially true if you’ll be celebrating a special life event such as an engagement, birthday or wedding anniversary while vacationing.

I also feel if there are any family members who are less than enthusiastic about taking pictures they will be more inclined to say yes on vacation than trying to convince them to do them over a busy weekend at home. People are naturally happier on vacation breaking free from their usual responsibilities & everyday stresses at home!

3) Experience

Not everyone has the ability to take great photos yet the vast majority will still desperately want gorgeous photos of their trip to look back on. Everyone has their strengths and taking clear, proper professional photos isn’t for everyone so why not let a pro take some for you? Instead of struggling most of the trip trying to get those difficult to capture picture postcard shots, a local photographer will help guarantee you capture the beauty of your vacation location as well as some beautiful pictures of you & your family. We excitedly found an amazing family photographer when we travelled to Thailand named Natasha Igillet. She specializes in doing sessions around Bangkok and with her experience she knew exactly the best Wat temple to do a session in as well as the best time of day for lighting & to avoid the crowds. Having an experienced family photographer also meant she knew all the tricks to help get our freshly turned 4 year old to happily pose & smile even though she was still technically adjusting to a 12 hour time difference. The photos we got from that session with her were absolutely breathtaking and worth absolutely every cent AND the stress of making our way to the location through busy Bangkok traffic!

4) Local Insider

For me this was a fun unexpected perk to hiring a local photographer. During our family session in Havana, Cuba we hired an incredibly talented photographer named Ivan Botello. Not only did he provide us with such beautiful pictures but we had such a great afternoon with him roaming around downtown Havana. He was born and raised in Havana and shared so many fascinating stories with us about what life is like on the island. As we moved through the streets of Old Havana doing photos it was as if we were receiving a bonus walking tour, history lesson & local travel tips from Ivan. He took us inside a few old buildings for pictures & chatted with people he knew who lived in the neighborhood where he often does these sessions. We were so grateful to have found Ivan and working with him became an added perk beyond just receiving gorgeous photos in the end.

5) Memory

I’m not sure about anyone else but when I look back through family photos we’ve had taken of us I not only see beautiful pictures but also have tons of great memories of us actually doing the session! I smile because I can remember the sights & sounds around us. I can close my eyes and become transported back to that spot on that day. I can remember the fun feeling in between shots. I can remember our daughter at that age & stage persuading her to hang in there so we can get all the pictures we needed. For me the session itself becomes a memory I cherish no different than a vacation excursion.

6) Supporting a local photographer

As photographers ourselves we can definitely appreciate the hard work, dedication, time commitment & challenges that come with the profession. That’s why without hesitation we have always valued the work of others and jump at the opportunity to support other photogs around the world. Who better to take pictures for you than someone who has dedicated their entire life to an art form in a tourist city you are visiting that they call home? True professionals are incredibly passionate about what they do and will go above & beyond to provide you with beautiful family pictures & an overall positive experience.

If you have a vacation destination you and your family regularly visit it´s also fun to use the same photographer over the years to keep updating pictures. We´ve used Courtney McIntosh with Precious Photography many times in Toronto, Canada to capture special moments of our family starting when our daughter was just a baby. She´s great with finding the perfect outdoor location and we can always rely on her to give us beautifully captured memories.

With our own business (Bicoastal Images) we do many sessions for others visiting Mexico and it´s always exciting to be apart of our clients´ vacation memories. We´ve been lucky enough over the years to work with so many clients visiting from all over the world who have come to Cancun or the Riviera Maya to propose, celebrate an anniversary or just want to capture some beautiful family memories in the sun. It´s definitely a special opportunity with each session and even more magical when we shoot a couple´s wedding and then have them return a few years later so we can now photograph their growing family!


Hiring pros to do a session for us while we travel means we can be sure to get current pics of us in a fun new location. We have gone on to make beautiful hard cover albums of our trips using those photos so we can sit down from time to time flipping through them. Those pictures help us remember our trips while capturing the essence of the city we were visiting & supported a local photographer which to me is a huge win win all around!


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