Sunday, 15 August 2010

How to take better holiday snaps

Holidays are over all too soon leaving only memories. Although the photographs capture some of the scenes and people present, their impact fades over time. Friends and family show little interest when shown your holiday photographs. This is a signal that it time to find a way to get better holiday photographs. To make the most of your holiday snaps, follow a few simple rules.
The most important rule for great photography is to carry a camera with you at all times! Opportunities for pictures occur when least expected. A good cell-phone camera is extremely mobile and can do the job. Keep the SLR for photo shoots of the landscape and for great portraits of your girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse and the children. Many cell phone cameras have a 5 mega pixel (some even have a 10 mega pixel) resolution that is good enough to produce excellent results for most purposes.
Look after your camera and remember to protect it from sand and sea water at all times! The last thing you want is to lose the camera and your precious pictures.
Ensure that you have enough memory (or film) to take as many pictures as you want, and don't forget to charge the batteries. An extra memory card may be the answer.
Before embarking on your journey take some time to get to know your camera. Get to know what it can do and its limitations. Many cameras have special settings for landscapes, portraits, close-ups and night scenes. These can help produce great results.
A common holiday-maker mistake is to try to capture people and landscapes in one shot - for instance the spouse or kids posing in front of the Eiffel Tower. Both lose out! Although it tells you that "I was there," the people are way to small and the landmark is not really in focus. A good rule of thumb is that people photos should focus on people. Make the person the primary object, and take the photograph from a fairly close range. The pyramids make a great backdrop, but don't try to do both. Spontaneous people pictures are often the most memorable. Children caught at play, people admiring an unusual scene and people celebrating. If you have a zoom option, then keep your distance and zoom in on unsuspecting subjects and capture the moment!
While shooting everything that presents itself to you, pay some attention to the composition of the picture. Avoid symmetry and use the rule of thirds by placing the horizon on the upper or lower third of the frame. Placing interesting objects or people on the vertical thirds helps to produce interesting results. When photographing people remember that the people should almost fill the frame. People have a role in landscapes to provide perspective.
Children can be photographed in almost any lighting conditions, but older people benefit from indirect lighting. Back lighting only works if you adjust the exposure to suit the portrait or use a fill-in flash.
Holidays are often spent in beautiful and sometimes spectacular surroundings. Look through the camera to find interesting shots. Experiment with different angles. If your friends or family are with you let them explore the scene and capture them as part of the shot. A person near a pyramid provides a sense of perspective. The time of day can make a huge difference to the results. Look at the lighting, and try to avoid huge contrasts. Our eyes adjust easily from strong sunshine to a dark shadow. Cameras don't manage these that well. Your camera will respond differently to the same scene at different times of day.
Events and celebrations benefit from lots of photographs. Too many is better than too few. More is more! Most modern digital cameras perform well in at night with or without a flash.
Back at home, touch-up your pictures by using good photo editing software. Remove the red-eye from the people's faces and enhance the picture using the automatic or manual adjustments features in the software. Crop photos to focus on an interesting detail. Great holiday shots make calendars, key-holders or table mats. Print some enlargements and laminate them for stunning results!

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