A holiday is something to look forward to for months; it’s the best part of the year and something to remember forever. That’s why we take so many photos whilst we’re away. We want to capture every moment and have great photos to look at to remember the good times. So before you pull out your camera, it’s a good idea to improve your basic photography skills. To help you do this, we’ve teamed up with some skilled photographers to provide their tops tips on getting the best snaps, wherever you are, every time.
Supal, Chevons & Eclairs
Travel photos are the best when you try to capture the “atmosphere”. Take a step or two back from the frame you have in mind and your photo may include more in each capture, like the boats and hills of Cape Town or the all-encompassing landscape from the Highlands of Scotland.
Play with shadows, lighting and composition. I like to frame photos that have a unique element, and manipulating shadows is a great way of making your travel photos look magazine-worthy. I captured a hallway of the Louvre by framing the shot around the entrance gates, and captured the Autumn colours of Edinburgh from a kitchen window.
Use your surroundings as a silhouette. Sometimes the edge of a tree, column or building will help frame a photo and achieve a wonderful silhouette to give extra emphasis to your subject. It’s what I did with the shot of the deer in Northern California and an old castle in the UK.
Lori, Wild and Grizzly
When capturing holiday moments, it’s easy to get stuck with a whole album full of forced poses and fixed smiles. I always try to add a variety of snaps to really get a sense of adventure. Rather than rely on grabbing the perfect shot in one go, I tend to take five quick snaps so I can choose the best of the bunch.
Edit your images easily using apps to create striking images with contrast and depth. I tend to use Snapseed, VSCOM, and Instagram to add filters or adjust brightness, colour and contrast. This can give a whole different feel to an image, making it light and breezy or dark and moody.
Below illustrates how you can simply use apps to create a better vibrant image:
Although it’s lovely to have those smiling photos of your little ones, think about capturing them at different angles to add variety. This image really captures my little boy’s personality and his excitement of the water, and makes for an interesting shot.
Add colourful backdrops to your photo. I’m always looking out for interesting walls, bright colours, street art, flowers and anything that would make for an interesting backdrop. We passed these bright beautiful flowers in Palma which really popped in the picture.
When trying to capture an action shot, you can often end up with blurry photos. My tip is to use a superburst camera setting. Simply hold down the shutter and it will automatically take several pictures at great speed, which will hopefully lead to one image being captured in perfect detail.
Use the zoom on your camera phone to get up close to your subject matter and capture the detail. If you miss zooming in while taking it, you can always crop your image afterwards using an editing app to get the desired shot
Decide what you’re focusing on; is it something up close or is there something in the distance you want to capture? This canal shot in Amsterdam focuses on the background. I used my iPhone camera and tapped on the background to ensure it was focused, then used the blur tool in snapseed for the foreground, creating a sense of depth.
Kayleigh, Kayleigh Pope
When using a smart phone:
Use the grid function so you can make sure things are lined up.
Tap the screen in different areas to change the exposure and focus.
- Use photo editing apps to alter brightness/contrast and add filters.
Look for the best light to take a photograph in. Direct sunlight can be really harsh; shade is always best, especially for selfies!
When photographing a sunset, tap the screen in different areas and you’ll see the photograph change.
When taking photographs of landscapes at night, avoid using the flash. Again, change exposure by tapping the screen.
Fraser Cottrell, Fraser Cottrell
Shooting on your smartphone
Sometimes you may be lucky enough to take out your phone and instantly get the perfect photo, but most of the time it’s all about looking for a different angle or viewpoint. Try getting on level with your subject or using the grid overlay on your camera, as it will help you to line up your landscape
Remember to expose for the right object, making sure whatever you want to take a photo of is not too dark or light. When shooting a landscape, tap the sky on the screen and you’ll notice the change in brightness on the photo. Do the same with the ground. This is changing the exposer and letting the camera focus on whatever you tap on
Smartphone flashes are never the best and it’s normally a good idea to keep away from using it whenever you can. Make sure it’s not set to auto, as this means it can go off during the day, causing your photos to look very dull. Only use the flash when it’s time for cocktails in the evening
Catherine Sprunt, Sprunting!
Frame the Subject
When you’re taking a picture of something static, like an interesting building, you have the luxury of taking your time to think a little bit more about the composition. Instead of zooming in on the subject itself, think about the way it’s framed by its surroundings; I love this photo of a temple in the Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo with the contrasting skyscrapers in the background. Likewise, standing in the middle of the path in the Meiji Jingu Park created a focal point at the centre of the photograph; I tilted the camera upwards to capture the sheer scale of the trees.
I love the saying that the best camera you have is the one you have to hand. When I forgot my camera when we went to the deer park in Nara, near Kyoto, I was gutted, but it turned out that my iPhone was perfect for capturing such fleeting moments and I could enjoy myself more without having to think about focusing, shutter speed, etc. A big, clunky camera with a loud shutter might have scared off the deer, plus there are so many apps out there for making your phone pictures look professional; I love A Color Story and VSCO.
Everyone loves a drool-worthy food photo every once in a while! It’s tempting to take a snap of everything that lands on the table but this can be really annoying for your fellow diners, so try not to disrupt your meal too much. I always take food photos without flash, which requires a somewhat well-lit restaurant, but photos with flash can make dishes look unappetising; white plates will reflect too much and oils and sauces can come up looking slimy or shiny. Don’t forgot that the best holiday photos have you or your travelling companions in them, especially when you can capture the pure joy on someone’s face when their food arrives!
So with all this expert advice, you’re guaranteed to take pictures that will make it into your photo album. From action shots on the beach, to beautiful sunsets and snaps by the bar, you’ll be able to capture every moment of your holiday. Just don’t forget to pack your camera!
Why not share your favourite holiday photos?