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Things To Remember When Photographing Your Family Vacation

Tell the story of your vacation. Think how your prints will look when you show them to your friends and relatives. You’ll be narrating a story at the time so take shots to illustrate your story. Take photos of your traveling companions before you leave home, while traveling to the airport, and when you get back. Hopefully you’ll see a change in your sun tan! Photograph yourselves in front of “Welcome to…” signs to use as “chapter headings.”


Take a Small Camera

Despite having a lot of large ‘professional’ equipment, the camera I use most often with friends is a small, “compact” camera. I have a really tiny model that I can slip easily into a pocket and carry around with me. That way, whenever something unexpected and fun happens, I’m ready to capture the moment.


Photographing People

The most useful tip for photographing people is to get closer. Try and fill the frame with just the faces. Ask your subjects to stand or sit closer together, so there’s less “wasted” space in the photo. Turn the flash on, even when you’re outdoors, to highlight the faces.


Understand Your Flash

I often see people trying to photograph a live show or concert. Unfortunately this is almost impossible to do with a normal camera. Most on-camera flash units are only effective for about eight to ten feet – anything further away will just appear black on the photo. Whenever you use a flash indoors, make sure that you’re between two and eight feet from your subject.



Don’t Forget the Fun!

Many of the fun times occur between sights. Capture these with “ordinary” shots – checking in, waiting in line, at the shops, having dinner with friends, with people you meet.


Don’t Forget You!

The problem with being the photographer is that you don’t appear in the photos. Stand your camera on a wall or table and use the self-timer feature, or ask someone else to take the photo. Chances are they’ll have a camera too and will ask you to return the favor!

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Using Filters Tip-Part 2

1. Warm Up Those Tones


The default white balance setting for digital cameras is auto, which is fine for most snapshots, but tends to be a bit on the “cool” side.


When shooting outdoor portraits and sunny landscapes, try changing your white balance setting from auto to cloudy. This adjustment is like putting a mild warming filter on your camera. It increases the reds and yellows resulting in richer, warmer pictures.


2: Sunglasses Polarizer


If you really want to add some punch to your images, then get your hands on a polarizing filter. A polarizer is the one filter every photographer should have handy for landscapes and general outdoor shooting. By reducing glare and unwanted reflections, polarized shots have richer, more saturated colors, especially in the sky.


If you don’t have or want to purchase a filter, try a pair of quality sunglasses, then simply take them off and use them as your polarizing filter. Place the glasses as close to the camera lens as possible, then check their position in the LCD viewfinder to make sure you don’t have the rims in the shot.


3. Using Your Flash Outside


One of the great hidden features on digital cameras is the fill flash or flash on mode. By taking control of the flash so it goes on when you want it to, not when the camera deems it appropriate, you’ve just taken an important step toward capturing great outdoor portraits.


In flash on mode, the camera exposes for the background first, then adds just enough flash to illuminate your portrait subject. The result is a professional looking picture where everything in the composition looks great.

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The Best Photography Tips

1. “Photoshop is cheating”, Strive to take ‘good’ photos, rather than photos that I can ‘improve’ later on.

2. If your photo is not good, you are probably not close enough!

3. When shooting portraits in bright sunlight use a flash to reduce facial shadows.

4. Have the subject stand with their body at a 45 degree angle to you but have their eyes look directly at you.

5. “Think BEFORE you press the shutter”

Therefore, putting much more effort in the photos.

6. Examine the 4 corners in your viewfinder.


Make sure there is nothing in the corners of the viewfinder that is distracting form the central subject. For most of us it is relatively easily to focus on the main subject and to find an interesting perspective to capture what we find interesting, but we tend to be so focused that we may forget to examine the rest of the scene for objects that don’t fit. Bright highlights, disconnected object sticking in. Things that distract from the image.


7. “Don’t take photographs of subjects, take photographs of the light”


8. “Take three steps closer.”


Superficially this seems pretty vague, and you can even think of lots of shots in which this might actually be the wrong advice. But in terms of getting one to focus on the main subject – or even to make sure that there is a main subject.


9. “Shoot often and shoot many.” Especially in the age of digital, don’t shoot one, shoot five pictures, 10 pictures, try different settings. The more experience you have, the more you’ll learn and the better a photographer you’ll become.


10. The difference between great photographers and a not so great photographers is that the great ones don’t show their crappy pictures.


And Lastly for this series, don’t forget your camera and take off the lens cap.

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Beginner Photography Tips

Top 10 Tips for Great Pictures

1. Look your subject in the eye

2. Use a plain background

3. Use flash outdoors

4. Move in close

5. Move it from the middle

6. Lock the focus

7. Know your flash’s range

8. Watch the light

9. Take some vertical pictures

10. Be a picture director


Look your subject in the eye


Direct eye contact can be as engaging in a picture as it is in real life. When taking a picture of someone, hold the camera at the person’s eye level to unleash the power of those magnetic gazes and mesmerizing smiles. For children, that means stooping to their level. And your subject need not always stare at the camera. All by itself that eye level angle will create a personal and inviting feeling that pulls you into the picture.



Use a plain background


A plain background shows off the subject you are photographing. When you look through the camera viewfinder, force yourself to study the area surrounding your subject. Make sure no poles grow from the head of your favorite niece and that no cars seem to dangle from her ears.



Use flash outdoors


Bright sun can create unattractive deep facial shadows. Eliminate the shadows by using your flash to lighten the face. When taking people pictures on sunny days, turn your flash on. You may have a choice of fill-flash mode or full-flash mode. If the person is within five feet, use the fill-flash mode; beyond five feet, the full-power mode may be required. With a digital camera, use the picture display panel to review the results.

On cloudy days, use the camera’s fill-flash mode if it has one. The flash will brighten up people’s faces and make them stand out. Also take a picture without the flash, because the soft light of overcast days sometimes gives quite pleasing results by itself.


Move in close


If your subject is smaller than a car, take a step or two closer before taking the picture and zoom in on your subject. Your goal is to fill the picture area with the subject you are photographing. Up close you can reveal telling details, like a sprinkle of freckles or an arched eyebrow.

But don’t get too close or your pictures will be blurry. The closest focusing distance for most cameras is about three feet, or about one step away from your camera. If you get closer than the closest focusing distance of your camera (see your manual to be sure), your pictures will be blurry.



Move it from the middle


Center-stage is a great place for a performer to be. However, the middle of your picture is not the best place for your subject. Bring your picture to life by simply moving your subject away from the middle of your picture. Start by playing tick-tack-toe with subject position. Imagine a tick-tack-toe grid in your viewfinder. Now place your important subject at one of the intersections of lines.

You’ll need to lock the focus if you have an auto-focus camera because most of them focus on whatever is in the center of the viewfinder.


Lock the focus


If your subject is not in the center of the picture, you need to lock the focus to create a sharp picture. Most auto-focus cameras focus on whatever is in the center of the picture. But to improve pictures, you will often want to move the subject away from the center of the picture. If you don’t want a blurred picture, you’ll need to first lock the focus with the subject in the middle and then recompose the picture so the subject is away from the middle.

Usually you can lock the focus in three steps. First, center the subject and press and hold the shutter button halfway down. Second, reposition your camera (while still holding the shutter button) so the subject is away from the center. And third, finish by pressing the shutter button all the way down to take the picture.



Know your flash’s range


The number one flash mistake is taking pictures beyond the flash’s range. Why is this a mistake? Because pictures taken beyond the maximum flash range will be too dark. For many cameras, the maximum flash range is less than fifteen feet—about five steps away.

What is your camera’s flash range? Look it up in your camera manual. Can’t find it? Then don’t take a chance. Position yourself so subjects are no farther than ten feet away. Film users can extend the flash range by using Kodak Max versatility or versatility plus film.



Watch the light


Next to the subject, the most important part of every picture is the light. It affects the appearance of everything you photograph. On a great-grandmother, bright sunlight from the side can enhance wrinkles. But the soft light of a cloudy day can subdue those same wrinkles.

Don’t like the light on your subject? Then move yourself or your subject. For landscapes, try to take pictures early or late in the day when the light is orangish and rakes across the land.



Take some vertical pictures


Is your camera vertically challenged? It is if you never turn it sideways to take a vertical picture. All sorts of things look better in a vertical picture. From a lighthouse near a cliff to the Eiffel Tower to your four-year-old niece jumping in a puddle. So next time out, make a conscious effort to turn your camera sideways and take some vertical pictures.


Now grab your camera and give these tips a try.

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