Daunted by your digital? Worry not. Taking great holiday pictures isn’t rocket science. Improve your snaps with these simple tips from Thomson’s Photography team…
The first rule is to look up. Which direction is the sun coming from? Unless you’re trying to take a snap with silhouettes, keep it behind you. For shots with less brightness and warmer colours, take your photos in the morning or early evening when the sun is lower. And if you’re getting up at the crack of dawn to catch the sunrise or snapping the sunset, your images will have blue tinge. When it comes to shooting indoors or in darker places, use a tripod or steady the camera on a solid surface to avoid blurry photos. And don’t rely on your camera flash to light up anything over a couple of meters away.
Did you know our eyes naturally scan images in different directions? That’s why professional photographers often put the main subject of their picture off-centre and use other elements to draw your eyes towards it. Known in the business as ‘the rule of thirds’, it’s easy to do. Imagine your frame is a noughts and crosses grid and put your subject where the lines would cross. It will always make your composition look more interesting. For landscapes, follow the same rules. Try and include something in the foreground, which will give your photograph a great sense of scale.
When it comes to good photography, timing is everything. So be patient and think about what you want to show rather than snapping away and hoping for the best. And keep your camera to hand – you never know when unexpected will happen. Don’t be afraid to try something different from what you see in magazines and brochures. There’s no rule saying you have to follow the crowd. Experiment, and just delete any bad ones.
Spend some time familiarising yourself with your camera settings and try the manual mode. You’ll soon learn what not to do and will be able to select the right settings for your shots. Look into how controlling the aperture, shutter speed and ISO can make a difference to your images, too.
When you used to take your films in for printing, the lab would make colour corrections and adjustments. And the same applies to digital cameras. Most photos need some touching up. There are all sorts of photo editing programs around and they can make the difference between deleting and keeping a picture. Just learning the basics in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements will help you to get the best from your images. Or try Picassa by Google. A storage, editing and basic corrections program, it’s free to download and really easy to use.