16 tips for great holiday, or vacation, photos

Mediatation on the banks of the holy Namada River, Maheshwar.

These 16 photographic tips is one of my earlier blogs  – recycled.

Do you, like me, hate that F word? Photographers use it such a lot! All I ever wanted was to record my trip. All I wanted was to have my memories enhanced by colourful images – a visual diary. But they keep using the ‘f’ word.

Call me an innocent it you like, but I don’t even know what that “f” word means! Books that use that word are too confusing for me. I needed clear, simple instructions – not words like apertures, shutter speeds, filter or f-stops.

All I want is to produce snapshots that produce envious sounds from friends and family: this happens as long as I obey the lessons I’ve learnt during my travels: usually discovered by wasting money developing photos of headless friends, my fingers, and distant, anonymous scenery … and a digital camera is great to get rid of the F-word and those boo-boos with the little press of the delete key.

So, how can you create those green-with-envy “wish I was there” comments from friends and family; how can you bring great photos home from your holiday.

First the basics: keep your fingers off the lens AND take the lens cover off – then:

  1. Keep your camera handy is vital as some of my very best shots I missed!
  2. Filling the frame with the subject adds impact and close-ups are great.
  3. Eliminate the unessential, cut out the clutter, and don’t try to grab it all. Concentrate on one small area and not the scene.
  4. Balance the camera on a fence, table, or other solid object if you are unsteady. Leaning against a post helps reduce camera shake.
  5. Early morning and late afternoon has the most favourable light, avoid midday if you can.
  6. Simple blocks of bright colour can make bold, interesting statements.
  7. Contrasting or complementary colours always look great.
  8. Look at other people’s photos, (in magazines, exhibitions, etc) see what works, what catches your eye
  9. Vertical shots are great for height and portraits
  10. Horizontal ones are good for getting some background
  11. Hold camera at an angle for fun shots
  12. Have the subject lean on something, or have their weight on one leg for a natural pose
  13. Use a background that enhances the subject – no branches out of ears or steeples from tops of heads
  14. Balance the picture; rarely have the subject in the centre
  15. Take a series of photos; funny signs, a water theme, doors, faces, women working
  16. Use something to frame the subject, a tree trunk and branch, a door, a window

Finally, travel always sharpens awareness of my surroundings; the different, the unusual and it is these things, the view of a new eye that makes great photos, so take many photos during your first few days in another city, country, or culture. We adapt quickly to differences so then our photos revert to being a mere record of our travels.

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Author: Heather - the kiwi travel writer

Nomadic travel-writer, photographer, author & blogger. See more on http://kiwitravelwriter.com and Amazon for my books (heather hapeta)