Photographing people on your trip: It’s easy to assume that because the sun’s out, it’s the best time for photos. This is not necessarily so. It’s actually quite difficult to take good pictures of people in bright sun – ask any wedding photographer. How many times do you hear, “I look terrible in that!” Never position people so that they’re facing directly into the sun. With most compact cameras or phones you also can’t position them with the sun completely behind as you will get flair from the sun and a de-saturated picture. Turn them so that the sun hits them from the side without making them squint. Now you must force the flash to fire. This may seem strange, but the shadows are too strong from the sun without the flash filling in the shadows. The camera thinks there is enough light to take the picture and so will not flash automatically. Half the face will be very bright while the other half will be almost black in the shadow. This is very easy to do with pretty well all compact cameras but I’m afraid the lights and flashes on phones are not powerful enough to do this. One other tip when photographing people, never stand them square on facing the camera but always at an angle with their head turned towards the camera.
Photographing scenes: Try and imagine the picture is divided into thirds from top to bottom and from left to right. If you are photographing a landscape for example, try placing the horizon line approximately one third down from the top and as straight as possible. If the sky is the greatest feature, then the horizon may be better one third from the bottom showing less foreground and more sky. Try and tell a story with the scene and consider a slightly different position from where to take the picture if there is a bin the the foreground. Don’t forget the zoom control. Sometimes, by zooming in to an area of the photo, this can give great depth to the picture – almost 3 dmensional. Modern compacts now have super zooms meaning they can capture from very wide angles, incorporating a lot of width and height, to very telephoto bring the subject in very close.
Photographing night scenes: Set your camera to night scene in the scene settings. Support your camera on a mini fold-up tripod such as a gorilla pod with the bendy legs and use the built-in timer set to 10 secs to take the picture. If you press the shutter button you will move the camera when it is exposing at a very slow shutter speed in order to allow enough light to reach the sensor. This results in blurred pictures. Likewise, hand holding a camera for night photos rarely leads to a sharp picture.
See a Facebook gallery from my trip to France last year. France 2010 Gallery. Above all, have a great holiday and happy snapping!