Ever looked through a holiday magazine or brochure and been jealous over the quality of the pictures that are shown? Or perhaps your wondered how to improve the quality of your snaps? Do you look at your friends pictures in awe? Following a few tips from some experts in the field can go a long way to improving the end result.I have been taking pictures abroad for nearly thirty years and in the early days using a Russian made SLR I developed my own slides and prints. Digital photography has revolutionised the way pictures are taken and viewed and also added a new dimension and that is our ability to manipulate the picture after it has been taken. Taking pictures while you are on your holiday can provide a lasting memory for yourself , the opportunity to share your holiday experience with your friends. Also , using your phone nowadays provides the ability to send images to people while you are on holiday - your own "unique postcard".So what can I do to take a better picture?BasicsMake sure your camera is accessible and not stuck in the bottom of your bag or rucksack. Make sure it is operational with a charged battery and finally make sure you have a pretty good idea as to what the settings do. One of the best ways to achieve this is to dedicate some time outside specifically with the camera and manual to practice with it and the different settings before you go on holiday. It's quite easy to forget the principles of how the camera works or if it's new it may operate completely differently to your old one.All cameras will have an automatic mode and this will enable you to take the picture as the camera sees it. This will not necessarily give you the best shot. I would also recommend learning how to use the camera's more manual modes such as the shutter or aperture priority settings. Before you do this you should look at the structure of the picture.The PictureStructure In whatever setting you use, it's important to take the "right" picture. For example if you are taking a view, don't just stand in one place look straight ahead and take the shot, move around, look at the view from several positions; if you get higher or lower will you include more or less man's canvas case, what's in the picture ? Is it spoilt by something like a pylon or building? Will the picture look better or worse with this in or out? As a general rule, a view will look better if it is framed in some way perhaps by a tree or a fence line, wall or person on one side or both. Try and imagine your picture as a print or on your screen and what would look good in or out of your shot. Look at what other people are taking. Are they in a better place than you? Views generally don't go anywhere (unless the weather changes quickly) so take your time and take several shots. Recognising the picture is one of the most important things and taking the time to work on this is crucial. Don't allow yourself to be hurried by other people if getting the right shot is important to you.Camera SettingsDigital cameras have a whole multitude of settings and I would hazard a guess that 80% of people only use about 20% max of the settings available to them on the camera. This is enough to get you an average shot. If you want more than an average shot, you are going to need to learn a bit about why even with the perfect shot set up the picture is still not the best. This will involve learning about shutter speeds and depth of field. Some cameras will allow you to prioritise one of these settings or go to a completely manual mode where you set both. The best thing to do is to buy a book that explains these two fundamentals and then go out and practice viewing your shots after they are taken and improving upon them by making alterations. I would recommend learning shutter speed first and then aperture and then combining them both. If you enjoy this and only have a basic camera, then you may soon find you have a desire to move onto a more sophisticated digital SLR camera. You should enhance the pictures you take by using settings like red eye reduction, fluorescent light balance, dark and light skin tone settings and pre defined settings for views, close up, bright sun using these settings in the correct circumstances will marginally improve your pictures.PeopleIt may be that you just want to take picture of friends and family while you are away so no doubt there will be a few composed shots. If you are taking composed shots, think about the picture. If, for example, you are in a restaurant and you want a picture of people across the table workhorse home depot, move objects out of the way - you don't want people hidden or obstructed by a wine bottle or candle. Make sure the flash is not set too high, try a shot on a slow shutter speed but make sure that the camera is supported to take out camera shake. When composing a shot of a group of people, first decide what part of them you want in the picture, all of them or just the face, encourage your subject(s) to smile. Try some shots when people don't know you are taking them, taking pictures of moving people is more difficult. Wait until people stop moving.Interesting Locations and ObjectsTry and find new angles for your pictures, look up at things or down on them, look through a window or door across to a view or person, search for a new prospective on the shot. Anyone can walk up to a "statue" and take a picture of it, find a creative angle to the picture. Not everyone will see the shot through a door or window - perhaps the door or window is an interesting background. Look for shots with plenty of colour to add some further dimension and interest. Places like markets make great photo locations to take shots of people and objects. Don't forget, in some places it would be polite to ask before taking some shots. Close ups of fruit and produce can make very good and interesting pictures. Odd angles on shots of buildings can make an interesting picture too and so can looking through an open window or door in or out of a room.The SunWe all love to enjoy the sun while on holiday but it can ruin a good picture! Avoid taking any picture (unless it's a sunset) directly into the sun, this will not give you a very good picture, move slightly to one side but try avoiding putting your subject into shadow unless you are adapt at adjusting your shutter speed to compensate for this at all times. Remember what the picture is you are taking and is this a good shot? Be careful not to look through your lens directly into the sun, this could damage your eye.PhonesMost mobile phones have a camera on them now and some are pretty good, but if you are into your photography or want some peace and quiet while on holiday away from the phone, then you need to take a decent camera with you. From a personal point of view, I would not consider my phone as a descent device for taking a proper picture with. Maybe for a bit of fun while at a party, but not to capture a decent shot of my holiday or the people I was travelling with.Picture SizeMake sure you set your camera correctly for the correct picture size. There may need to be a compromise between memory available and what size you want to print the picture at. It is usually possible to alter this size as you go, so you can take each picture on a different size if you need to save memory. Generally, the more "space / pixels" you use to record the picture, the larger the image / zoom in on that recorded image you will be able to do - if you don't need to do this, then you don't need to take the picture with as many pixels.These are just a few tips to enable you hopefully take a better picture while on holiday. I believe that taking time to set up the correct picture will give you the best results - don't just point and shoot.
Ever looked through a holiday magazine or brochure and been jealous over the quality of the pictures that are shown? Or perhaps your wondered how to improve the quality of your snaps? Do you look at your friends pictures in awe? Following a few tips from some experts in the field can go a long way to improving the end result.