Follow a few simple tips to eradicate blurred sunsets and headless family members in your travel snaps
Even the best holiday memories fade – but photographs never do. At least, not these days with digital technology enabling us all to keep those happy snaps forever. But what if you struggle to take pictures you’ll want to treasure? Do you always chop people’s heads off, or end up with out of focus landscapes? Read on and let a professional show you how it’s done.
Invest in your camera
Don’t scrimp on time or cash when choosing the right camera. Do your research whether you are buying a full digital SLR, a compact camera or even just using a smartphone as your main travel camera. There is no going back, so read the reviews and go into a store to ask questions face to face even if you later buy online.
Get all the gear
You’ve got your camera, but make sure to get all the other bits and bobs you might need on the road; that means spare memory cards, lens-cleaning cloths and, most importantly, a spare battery. Ignore this advice at your peril – you’ll remember it ruefully when a lion vaults over your safari truck just after your battery dies.
Stabilise that image
So many gorgeous sunrise and sunset shots, as well as many landscape images, work best with a tripod. You don’t need a huge man-sized tripod rig that takes out passers by as you turn corners. There are plenty of compact tripods these days and you can even buy tiny little tripods for smartphones.
Compose, compose and then compose some more. Don’t just snap dull shots of the Eiffel Tower. Think about closing in and shooting some of the detail, or adding some people for extra interest – and use whatever light you have. Put simply, the more effort and time you put into composition, the better your pictures will be.
People not ants
When you are shooting photographs that aim to sum up the spirit of a great holiday don’t have the stars of the show standing miles away. Even if the backdrop is dramatic the people are the main focus here and you want to capture their enjoyment, even if they are a little camera shy, so bring them into the foreground.
Tell a story
Home in on details to tell the story of a place. For a market, first shoot a wide shot from a distance to set the scene, then move in slowly, finishing with close-ups of food and dashes of local prices or language to add more colour. You should have everything you need now to make a great montage for your wall back home.
If you have invested in an expensive DSLR don’t just rely on the automatic modes. Get creative and experiment with various combinations of ISO settings and different shutter speeds. This will enable you to take more sophisticated photographs, as well as meaning you can call yourself a “proper photographer”.