4 August 2013

Holiday Photos

How to take holiday photos

Keep it real

Don't compete with postcard photography when there is usually such a varied, culturally rich array of subjects to capture off the beaten track on holiday.  

Immerse yourself in local routine: start in a market, go to local barbers, launderettes, restaurants and bars.  Commuter routes are great for portraiture as there are so many people in one place. 

Reportage-style photography is my favourite as it tells the true story of your holiday - be sure to capture the moments of anger and mayhem during long queues or in airport lounges too.  Exposing humanity, warts and all, makes for such interesting and emotive shots.

Make your photos feel local

Include place-specific details - a cobbled street, an unusual plant - in the foreground to inform the viewer of your location.  

Change perspective to encompass an interesting scene: hold your camera above your head, get access to a rooftop or lie on the floor for a shot across the ground.

Use the rule of thirds

Divide your lens into nine boxes with two lines that run horizontally and vertically (you can imagine this or turn on the 'viewfinder' option that most cameras have).  

Position your subject along the lines within the first six boxes to the left or right and leave the remaining boxes as background space.  This off-centre composition frames the subject and adds energy and interest as the subject actively 'moves' into the shot.

Choose a different angle

Crouch down close to your subject and point your camera upwards for a powerful portrait.  A wide-angled shot taken at long distance allows you to snap a subject that is moving quickly.  

Use your zoom to avoid the cliched picture of the Eiffel Tower and focus in on interesting details, such as tiles or door frames.  'Sweet' light (the warm yellow, orange or red light of late afternoon and candlelight) provides beautiful shadows that will enhance texture within your photographs.

Use your phone

A smartphone is great for portraiture because you can access if quickly to capture a moment  Bring the subject close to the lens and hold your phone horizontally to compensate for the lack of zoom. 

There are plenty of apps that allow you to take creative photos on holiday without taking bags of professional equipment. A panoramic app is great for capturing a square or souk, and try Cinemagram (http://cinemagr.am/)or Vine (http://www.ibtimes.com/vine-new-video-photo-sharing-service-twitter-has-become-porn-hub-just-four-days-its-inception) for fun videos.  

Exhibit your work!Print your favourite holiday photos: it's a shame to leave them on your computer.  Start an album or display them in your room as seeing them on a dreary day will put a spring in your step.

Keep it in perspective

Remember: the eye and the camera are completely different.  Your eyes can see much more colour and light - plus, we have two of them - so don't feel frustrated if your shot doesn't look as good as the real thing.  

Persevere and experiment with your photography and keep in mind that brochure and magazine images have often been heavily altered.  Never delete your shots.  There is no such thing as a bad photograph as long as you have conveyed what you saw or how you felt.

From an article in the Telegraph by Gisele Scanlon, photographer and author, her new book 'The Goddess Experience' is out now £12.99 Harpur Collins).

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