It’s that time of year again. The holidays are quickly approaching and you know what that means. It’s time to figure out how to upstage your friends and family by having the best photos of the best holidays possible without coming across as an insufferable boor. It’s a fine line to walk, but there are many ways to look like you are having the time of your life, especially if you are.
There are a couple of keys to taking quality photographs. Having the appropriate equipment and using it correctly, of course, finding the perfect location for photos and knowing how to compose and take digital photographs are all important. To help you get some ideas, below is a list of a number of photo ideas that will make your holiday the envy of friends and family.
Nothing says you are on holiday like the ability to enjoy and photograph a sunset. For some odd reason, sunsets on holiday just look more intense, more beautiful or more inspiring than when you are driving home from work with the last glare of the summer sun in your eyes, Sunset photos are particularly gorgeous when taken over the water – especially if you don’t live near an ocean – but can complement almost any type of landscape.
If you aren’t sure that your sunset picture will be perfect take multiple pictures. Memory space is cheap; sunsets only come once every 24 hours. Check your settings before you start taking photographs as taking the time to adjust exposure or white balance might cause you to miss the whole thing. Remember that framing and composition are still vitally important.
Carnivals, festivals and excursions in larger cities can be magical under the cloak of night, but night photography can be difficult, especially for the novice, but like most photography skills, practice will make it easier to adjust the settings on your camera to get the correct exposure and minimize shake, lens flare and fog from lighting.
It is difficult to get good night photographs with compact digital cameras since most of them don’t have manual controls that allow you to adjust the settings to match the conditions. Many of them have a night mode, though. It won’t be the perfect solution, but with a little practice, a compact digital camera is perfectly fine for night photography.
Taking pictures while diving or snorkeling deserves its own article. It requires a special camera and even with the specialized equipment, the water you are shooting through can distort your photos and make it difficult to compose the photos to begin with. If you aren’t easily dissuaded and have the patience to learn and practice, though, underwater photography can be an absolute dream.
If you don’t have a solid grasp of both photography skills and equipment, it is easier and less frustrating to stick with a compact underwater camera for your first few excursions. The learning curve on underwater single lens reflex cameras (SLR) is necessarily steep and it is easy to – if you will pardon the pun – get in over your head with underwater photography.
Even with the camera sorted out; taking pictures underwater is different than land photography. Water affects light, shadows and colors to a different degree than air does. Your eyes will adjust to these changes, but a camera lens and the image sensor have a much more difficult time. The deeper into the water you go, the more wave lengths of light will be absorbed and the harder it will be for the camera to adjust. Red light is absorbed first, so photos will take on a bluish cast which will get progressively worse the deeper you go.
Many cameras, even compact digital cameras, have manual white balance control. If your camera does, it is relatively easy to adjust. All you have to do is turn the white balance on and take a picture of a white board or slate at the desired depth and light. The camera will adjust its sensor to compensate for the lack of appropriate red tones.
Some Final Thoughts
No matter what reason you are taking holiday photos – whether it is to tease your friends or just to recall the wonderful times you have spent – remember that your digital photographs can live for a much longer time than 35mm and older film and negatives. As digital photography comes into its own, some of the advantages are just being explored. Being able to look back on your holidays for the entirety of your life gives everyone a good reason to learn the necessary photographic skills to take more than selfies and invest in a camera that takes quality pictures for display and remembrance.