5 Reasons to Get Your Kids Invested in Your Vacation Memories

Kid photographers on vacation

Our family just got back from a three week vacation to South Korea. We were in Seoul and the beautiful island of Jeju. We saw amazing UNESCO heritage sites, hip nightlife, and ate the best food on the planet.

And I didn’t take my camera with me.

Well, I did take my backup camera, but it was just too bulky, so I ended up not taking it out. So who took photos? Well, I did a lot on my phone. But the vast majority of the photos were taken by my two older kids, on the older teen’s phone, and the younger teen used our iPad or a parent phone. I’m so glad too, because they got photos I wouldn’t have thought to take.

Here are 5 reasons why you should get your kids invested in your vacation memories.

kids invested in vacation photos | Robin Sgambati Photography

1. They develop camera eyes

As a photographer, I have “camera eyes”. My mind often goes to how a certain scene would look. For example, every time I pass by a cloverleaf exit ramp, I see the wild-ish green space and wish I could photograph a family right in the middle of it. (And then I think about ticks because I live in Loudoun County). It’s an oasis in the middle of concrete, asphalt, and carbon monoxide that is often seen but not noticed. I see how it changes during the different seasons, the different plants that grow, and imagine how they would look in a photo.

When we give our children a camera, they also start noticing. When they are trying to get the plane wing just so above the horizon, they are noticing. And then of course they go into the editing mode and edit them to death…but it’s ok. The golden sunlight shining on top of the clouds is etched in their minds.

2. They go places we don’t…literally

kids invested in vacation photos | Robin Sgambati Photography

In our first Airbnb, we got a rooftop apartment, with a little room right on the roof. My son, however, decided to go on the roof of the rooftop apartment and went to sleep there, capturing the sun setting as he dozed off. Nope, definitely wouldn’t have gone there.

kids invested in vacation photos | Robin Sgambati Photography

At the top of one of the skyscrapers in Seoul, there was one section of glass where you could stand and see many floors below you. Yep, again not going there. My son also loves animals of all kinds, so he tries things I wouldn’t. Like waving his fingers above a school of koi at an aquarium to get them to gather close. Wish that worked for little kids!

3. You get new perspectives

kids invested in vacation photos | Robin Sgambati Photography

When we hiked the tallest peak in South Korea, I was just bent on getting to the top and making it back down. Yes, I enjoyed the views, but during a 12 hour hike, I wasn’t going to stop for much. I loved that my son composed this photo with the clouds and peaks in the distance, but grounded it with a sharp crow in the foreground.

The dog? There isn’t a dog he comes across he doesn’t try to greet. This dog belonged to a man selling horse rides on the beach, so he was a local who knew how to cool off on a hot day. Again, not something I would have photographed, but it was interesting to my son and beautifully composed.

closeup of alligator | Robin Sgambati Photography

One thing about kids is that they aren’t afraid to experiment and do different things. This alligator (crocodile?) was lounging right up against the glass at the aquarium, so my son got a great closeup of him. I think this is so much more interesting than a full length shot would have been.

4. They get to photograph what’s important to them

kids invested in vacation photos | Robin Sgambati Photography

When we passed by this ginormous bookstore in Gangnam (ha ha, now you’ve got that song in your head), my husband and I were on a mission to find a specific office to get some specific tickets. We said wow and went on our way, while my book-loving daughter thankfully took lots of photos of it. For the fish photo, I think I took this one of my son with Dr. Fish, fish that eat your dead skin and exfoliate you…naturally! I squealed and didn’t like the feeling but he stuck it out for the photos.

flora in korea | Robin Sgambati Photography

One thing we did that I wouldn’t do again, at least on a vacation to the other side of the world, is visit waterfalls. If you lived somewhere that didn’t have waterfalls, it would be worth it. But it was kinds of anticlimactic for us, yet required a lot of walking. And while I appreciate lacecap hydrangeas and beautiful leaves, these are also things native to Virginia. But my children’s attention was captivated by these, so the walking and tiredness were alleviated. My older daughter photographed the hydrangea, and my younger daughter gathered the leaves. These are special vacation memories for them too.

5. It’s a great opportunity to impart small photo lessons

kids invested in vacation photos | Robin Sgambati Photography

While they are taking photos, I can give them tips on perspective and things to consider with the background. They see right away what I’m talking about. What better way to share a love of photography? Yes, one of those snails ended up smashed, de-shelled, and cut up right before our eyes on those rocks there by two old ladies adept with a hammer and knife.

Jeju and abalone | Robin Sgambati Photography

Leading lines, golden hour lighting, perspective, horizons, they can experiment with them all. On vacation, you’re typically seeing new things and places, so it’s a fun and interesting way to try new things.

kids invested in vacation photos | Robin Sgambati Photography
Seoul life | Robin Sgambati Photography
kids invested in vacation photos | Robin Sgambati Photography

This was my first family vacation where I wasn’t the most prominent photographer…and I loved it! We have plenty of typical family vacation photos and selfies in our amalgamation of photos from multiple devices. However, these are some that stand out for being special because our children took photos I probably wouldn’t have gotten. I hope you’ll try it out too and let me know how it goes.

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