Unless you’re one of the unfortunates who summer where they winter, you’ll go on vacation this year. Simply EVERYONE takes vacation pictures to remember the good times
The Mid-sized Digital Camera
First of all, consider buying a mid-sized fixed-lens camera like the Olympus SP-560UZ 8MP or theCanon Powershot G9. The former is built like a half-size SLR; the latter like an overgrown pocket camera. Both can be used as point-and-shoots, while delivering photo quality far superior to most smaller pocket cameras. While you will most certainly get better results with a DSLR (e.g. the Nikon D40 ), once you connect a good (but bulky) lens to it, you’re lugging around al of weight. The problem with most small and cheap pocket cameras? Picture quality stinks and they’re usually not smart enough to give you good results under poor lighting conditions. The mid-sized cameras above are very high quality and have both have long image-stabilized zooms.
- Shoot with the sun at your back. This illuminates the subject. Otherwise, you get a silouette!
- Shoot at the edges of the day. Early morning and late afternoon provide the most dramatic lighting and colors.
- Know how to use the flash modes on your camera correctly. There’s nothing worse than missing your shot because you were in red-eye mode when you didn’t need to be!
- Minimize distraction in your photos, especially when it comes to background.
- Make your photos interesting by zooming in for detail or shooting at an odd angle (like the panorama beach scene of the happy family above). Otherwise your photos will just look like typical postcards.
- Shooting a sunrise or sunset? Bracket your exposures. Set your +/-EV or Av a couple steps to the “-“ side. This will keep the bright sun from washing out your photo.
- Trying to photograph someone against that sunset? Shoot with fill flash to light the foreground subject while keeping the sunset properly exposed.
One of the best things about going away, anywhere, is that the new locale can spark creativity. Simply being in a new place makes things look more interesting than what you’re used to!
Landscapes are generally shot horizontally, while most other images pack a bigger punch when shot vertically.
- Practice not chopping off their heads (unless your intent is to protect their privacy!).
- If shooting groups of people, make sure your camera has a wide enough angle lens to get everything in.
- Although it’s tempting to photograph the native people, be respectful of their privacy.
Want a shot of your family in front of that landmark? Don’t be so quick to hand your camera to a stranger. You might consider using the self-timer (or invest in an IR remote) so you can set up the camera up a few yards away, then get yourself back in the picture.
Speaking of Safety
When getting off a subway train, keep the camera out of sight. A friend of mine had her camera strap cut and camera stolen just as she got off the train! Door closed, away went the camera. In fact, I had my first digital camera stolen at an outdoor rock concert. Had it hanging from my shoulder; next thing I knew, there it wasn’t!