Best Camera for A Family Vacation?

Q: What’s the Best Camera to Take on Our Family Vacation?

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A: This may seem counterintuitive, but you don’t need to haul a lot of fancy photography equipment with you, in order to take beautiful pictures on your next vacation. Instead, the answer today is almost universally a smartphone. I prefer my iPhone, but that doesn’t mean that other types of available smartphones wouldn’t work as well.

Apple made a billboard using one of the images I shot while exploring the ice caves in Iceland. It was shown all over the world! (And, yes, I took this photo with my iPhone!)


Today’s smartphones are relatively compact, so you can keep them in your pocket, small bag, or purse. (What’s more, you pretty much always have your phone with you anyway!) Most models are equipped with cameras that can capture amazingly high quality, high-resolution images suitable for printing. Incidentally, some of my favorite online printing services include Shutterfly and the Costco Photo Center. And check out services like Groovebook ( or Blurb (www.blurb.comto have your own photo books made.

Of course, most smartphones also double as video cameras, so you can now shoot video with the push of a button. Best of all, you can share your photos and videos with friends and family in a matter of seconds—without the hassle of juggling those tiny, expensive memory cards. Simply make it a point to use the hotel’s wifi connection to back up each day’s photos and videos into the cloud if you are able. I like Apple’s iCloud(, Google’s Photos( and Dropbox(!

In short, you take the best pictures with the camera you have with you! So, leave the big, bulky camera bodies for the crazy photographers who actually enjoy lugging all that expensive gear through airports and onto airplanes. Many of them are professional photographers being paid to tote all that stuff. Ask them what they use to shoot their own vacation photos, and most of them will tell you they carry a smartphone along for their vacation pics, too!

Here are a few vacation pics I’ve also taken with my iPhone:

Flowers in Epcot
iPhone 6S Plus

Cinderella’s Castle
iPhone 6S Plus

Badwater Basin Death Valley
iPhone 6S Plus

Mesa Arch
iPhone 6s Plus Panoramic

Have your own photography-related question for Doug? Contact him at and your question might be featured in an upcoming issue.