How to take better photos – simple tips

How can I take better photos you ask?  Composition is everything, so use your camera settings to display the grid lines – remember the rule of thirds and focus the subject on one of the cross-lines to catch the viewers eye. It’s a good rule of thumb for all art.

Travel sharpens awareness of our surroundings; the different, the unusual and it’s these things, the view of a new eye that makes great photos. As a travel writer and author, I take many photos during my first few days in another country, a different culture.

Drummer boy, Ernakulam, Kerala

If you want your photos to be more than a mere record of your travels try these simple tips.

  1. Keep your camera with you: some of my ‘best photos’ are the ones I missed.
  2. Filling the frame adds impact to many pictures
  3. Eliminate the unessential, cut the clutter. Don’t try to grab it all.
  4. Early morning and late afternoon have the most favourable light.
  5. Avoid midday as overhead sun drains the colour.
  6. Simple blocks of bright colour make bold statements
  7. Look at other people’s photos to see what works, what catches your eye.
Malaysian Borneo

16 tips for great holiday, or vacation, photos

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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© Your name

List of 16 simple photographic tips

List of 16 tips for great holiday pictures

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: if you are still on film – load it correctly, and for everyone, keep your fingers off the lens AND take the lens cover off – then:

  1. Keep your camera handy is vital as some of my best shots I missed!
  2. Filling the frame with the subject adds impact and close-ups are great.

    fill the frame
  3. Eliminate the unessential, cut out the clutter, and don’t try to grab it all. Concentrate on one small area and not the whole image your eye can see.
  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 complimentary colours always look great.
  8. Look at other peoples 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. from a 'doors' series Christchurch NZ

    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 windowweb aoraki

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, and then our photos revert to being a mere record of our travels. ©Heather Hapeta 2009

15 top tips for great photos

Make your holiday snaps even better and impress your friends with these simple hints

Maheshwar, India
Maheshwar, India

Want friends to love your holiday photos? try these tips

Travel sharpens awareness of our surroundings; the different, the unusual and it’s these things, the view of a new eye that makes great photos.

As a travel writer I take many photos during my first few days in another country, a different culture. (www.kiwitravelwriter.com)

If you want your photos to be more than a mere record of your travels try these tips.

  1. Keep your camera with you : some of my ‘best photos’ are the ones I missed by not having my camera read
  2. Filling the whole frame adds impact to many pictures
  3. Eliminate the unessential, cut the clutter. Don’t try to grab it all.
  4. Early morning and late afternoon have the most favourable light.
  5. Avoid midday as overhead sun drains the colour.
  6. Simple blocks of bright colour make bold statements look at other people’s photos to see what works, what catches your eye.
  7. Vertical shots are great for height and portraits, while horizontal ones are good for getting some background.
  8. Hold your camera at an angle for some fun shots: I won a photo-of-the-month prize because my angled shot stood out.
  9. If possible, leave the subject lean on something, or put their weight on one leg for natural pose.
  10. Take photos when the person is unaware of you.
  11. Use a background that enhances the subject: don’t have poles, trees, or the Eiffel tower growing out of your subjects’ head
  12. Balance the picture; rarely does the subject look great right in the centre.
  13. Take a series of photos: signs, doors, sunsets, fountains, or faces.
  14. Use something to frame the subject, a tree trunk and branch, a door, a window – but not with all your photos.
  15. Finally, be considerate and don’t take photos of people who don’t want to be photographed – eg the hill-tribes of Laos. If I believe I will publish a photo of people, I get permission to do so (when possible) and pay them in an appropriate way.
Takahe - a colourful native
Festival of the Hungry Ghost. Malaysia
Kaikoura, New Zealand