Taking great photos of your holiday

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Taking great photos of your holiday

Photos allow you to share and prolong the pleasure of your holidays while waiting for your next break! The development of technology over recent years has made photography more accessible to holidaymakers. However, and fortunately, the camera does not do everything. Taking the picture, composing the shot and adjusting the light always rely on the photographer. Recording the emotions of a situation always remains a challenge. So here is some advice to help you take not just good photos, but beautiful ones.

EQUIPMENT

  • The camera can be traditional or digital: each offers different pleasures and advantages. It’s a question of personal choice.
  • The chosen telephoto lens should allow you both to take landscapes with a wide enough angle (approximately 28 mm), and to zoom in sufficiently close on distant subjects (at least 80 mm). In certain cases and if the camera allows it, you can take along an additional lens, to photograph animals for example.
  • A tripod can prove very practical in dark or poorly-lit places. The downside is the bulky load, but small models also exist.
  • An external flash is interesting for indoor or back-lit photos. It also lets you to save the camera battery because you aren’t using the camera’s built-in flash.
  • Spare batteries are often essential on long days. It’s always annoying to find yourself low on power in the middle of an outing or walk.
  • You should also allow for extra memory cards or films. It’s better to take several medium-capacity memory cards or films with you than one high-capacity one as this helps reduce the risk of loss, theft and technical problems.
  • Sand, dust, rain and other weather-related problems are particularly harmful to a camera’s electronics and lens. A blower bulb with a brush, lens paper and a microfibre cloth should be used to clean the camera when necessary. In every case, always close the latches properly and put the lens cap on after every use.
  • If you are taking underwater photos, remember to take a waterproof case.
  • To carry your camera around, go for a belt bag if you have little equipment. To transport a lot of equipment, use a rucksack rather than a strap bag. In both cases they should be properly waterproof in case of rain.
  • Cameras should not be stored in very cold or very hot places. Sudden temperature variations can also lead to condensation on the lens.
  • Humidity is also a danger for electronics. Putting a few sachets of silica gel in the camera bag will absorb any excess humidity.
  • If the equipment is brand new, carry out some tests before your departure to avoid nasty surprises when you return home.

TAKING A PHOTO

  • The first question to ask yourself is of course how interesting is the subject. There are sometimes situations where several similar subjects are available in the same place or on the same day. Choosing the most vivid and most aesthetically-pleasing situation with the best setting will produce a more beautiful photo.
  • Once you have chosen your subject, you need to find the best angle. To do that, try moving to different spots, walking around the subject, climbing up high etc. to find a good place. Avoid taking the subject from straight on – a slight angle will make it look better.
  • When composing your shot, pay attention to the details surrounding the subject in order to get a nice-looking overall image. Make use of the elements in the foreground and background.
  • Respect the Rule of Thirds, which consists of placing the most important subject not in the centre of the photo, but rather in the left third, right third, top third or bottom third of the image.
  • When taking scenes of life or moving subjects, just shoot the photo at the most convenient moment.
  • Finding the best shot sometimes requires a lot of time. You therefore need to be patient and enjoy this part of the job.

LIGHT

  • The best light for a photo can generally be found early in the morning or late in the afternoon. In the middle of the day, the light flattens subjects and perspective, and reduces colour contrast.
  • Do not always rely on the camera for the exposure setting, especially in very bright conditions. Use manual mode instead.
  • In case of backlighting, use overexposure or a powerful flash.
  • When light is poor, using a tripod can prove to be essential. Use the timer to prevent the camera from shaking when you press the button.
  • When using an external flash indoors, point it towards the ceiling or a wall in order to obtain a gentler and more natural indirect light.
  • Flash photography is forbidden in some museums so remember to take more sensitive films with you or use a higher ISO mode on a digital camera.
  • Avoid using the flash in case of rain, snow, or fog. The light can reflect off the closest drops or flakes, producing an unexpected result on your photo.

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