Today I'm sharing a fun vacation session from this sweet family's visit to Washington, D.C. The D.C. area is such a popular place to visit. From spring cherry blossoms and Smithsonian museum visits to the Capitol Building, National Mall and monuments - there's no shortage of fun (and free!) stuff to do.
I have a soft spot for photographing family vacation sessions. I have fond memories of my own family's vacations to the beach and camping and I love looking back on those pictures with my parents and sister and sharing them now with my own kids.
It can be hard to get the whole family in the frame together though, especially when wrangling little ones. There's only so many times you can ask a stranger to take a picture and, often, one parent becomes the designated photographer and is missing from most photos. In my family, that would be me (surprise!), so I love hiring a photographer to document part of our trip. Here are three reasons why:
1. No pressure. Planning a family vacation with children is no joke. Choosing a kid-friendly location, searching for fun activities, and figuring out logistics is time-consuming and stressful. And once you arrive at your destination, it's still not time to sit back and put your feet up with a glass of wine (I somehow never realized this until my first vacation as a parent. Go figure. :-) ). Hiring a photographer takes the pressure off of trying to capture all the fun of what your kids are doing and allows you to just enjoy the fun with them with no added pressure.
A documentary session also means no need to stop what you're doing to take photos (although a quick portrait in front of the Capitol Building is likely a necessity!). You already have enough to worry about (snacks, public transportation, potty breaks, and, and, and...) - fewer photo interruptions makes for more cooperative family members throughout the day.
2. A local expert I've lived in the D.C. area for ten years and have loved taking my time getting to know all the area has to offer. Hiring a local photographer means you get access to all their knowledge - including the best places to visit and eat (and the best times to go), off-the-beaten-path attractions, kid-friendly recommendations for everything, and, of course, the best photo opps.
I loved planning this D.C. vacation session and getting to know this family a bit before meeting them. From their love for trains and dinosaurs and a need for time and lots of space for running about with two energetic boys - we were able to make the most of their limited time in the city, while also keeping things flexible, low-key, and stress-free.
3. You were there too. (Or your spouse.) The point is, it's a family vacation. And the whole family should be present. When looking back on these vacation photo years from now, the pictures your kids will appreciate the most will be the ones of you together. When going through my family photos, my eyes always linger most on the pictures of me with my parents. Some things change and some stay the same and these moments frozen in time are glimpses into our stories. Who would we be without our family? These photos help us remember the stops along the way.