Taking quality pictures while travelling is a must, helping you hold on to treasured holiday memories for years to come. But what if your images always come out looking a bit average? Whether you’ve bought the latest DSLR or plan to use your mobile phone while abroad, we’ve come up with six tips for better holiday pictures:
1. Get up early and keep snapping late in the day
Taking quality photographs when the sun is at its highest is difficult. Convention suggests that you should take photographs with the sun at your back however if you’re photographing a person, you’ll end up with a rather squinty subject. Taking photographs at sunrise and sunset makes managing the light easier and you’ll get more interesting colours to play with. To capture moments during the bright sunshine hours try standing in the shade when taking your pictures to prevent glare and get in close to your subject(s) where possible.
If you simply have to shoot towards the sun there’s a few arty tricks – you can create a nice halo effect by using your subject to block the sun or silhouette them against the sun.
2. Look for creative opportunities
Rather than just snapping your subject square-on, look for opportunities to be a little more creative. Reflections in water, mirrors, metals or glass, are a nice way to capture your subject, placid lakes and rainy cities provide plenty of arty opportunities. Photographing shadows, whether they form part or all of a framed shot, is also a nice way to build interest into your pictures.
It’s also important to change your position, manipulate the height and angle of your shots and rotate the camera to achieve different effects. Make sure you get the picture you want by taking plenty of snaps from different positions – crouch, lie down, stand on a sun lounger or climb a hill.
It’s very tempting to frame your snaps with the main material (usually a person) in the middle. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with this approach, but moving the subject off-centre and revealing more of the backdrop creates depth in a photograph and makes them more visually arresting.
To get the framed balance between and subject and setting right, visualise two vertical and two horizontal lines that create a grid of nine equal squares and place this imaginary grid over your image (some modern cameras will overlay this grid for you). Your subject material should stand or lie roughly along one of the imaginary lines.
4. What about the flash?
A very simple piece of advice is to use the flash outside and not inside, and try to avoid photographing anything with the flash pointed directly at it at all costs. If your flash rotates, bounce it from a wall or ceiling, if not then a homemade diffuser will do the trick – halved ping-pong balls, white cotton and even white electrical tape can be placed over flashes to diffuse the light around the scene, create shadows and soften skin tones.
If you’re photographing statues, buildings or anything else inanimate, look for interesting details like etchings or delicately painted areas as these will give a more interesting shot than a wide angle of an entire building.
Get as close to your material as physically possible before using your zoom to capture the finer and more intricate parts. Use a fast shutter speed and a tripod (when you can) as these will prevent blurring when it comes to close-ups and if you’re material is very small, consider investing in a quality macro lens which help you focus on objects that are close to your camera.
Picking up the finer details in an object, animal or person will give you images with a different appeal to the normal holiday shots.
6. Be prepared
Make sure you carry your camera in a case and you’ve got plenty of batteries, a spare charger, lenses and memory cards (or film). Play with your camera, experiment with the setting in a variety of conditions so you’re familiar with it and how to get to best out of it – you don’t want to be fiddling with your settings while trying to capture cherished travel moments.
Clearing your memory is also good practice as it will provide you with extra space for your snaps, ensuring you have more quality images to choose from when you get home.
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