Brad GrigorTurning Point Arts
As the days grow longer and warmer, and vacation excitement starts to grow, taking good vacation photos might be moving up the charts into your areas of interest. With some preparation and a few tips before you leave, you can avoid the disappointment of bringing home hundreds of so-so vacation photos. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you take much better vacation photos.
See what others don’t
If you take your photos at the well-worn ‘Kodak spots’, they will lack originality and freshness. For better vacation photos, break the pattern: get down low, move in or back, find a higher vantage point, walk further down the path, use a different lens, etc.
A stitch in time…
For amazingly detailed images, stitch together a ‘panorama’ of multiple overlapping shots, either in a row, a column or even a grid, as in the top photo to the right. Free software such as Microsoft Image Composite Editor will quickly and easily stitch them into a single seamless file that will make stunning wall-sized prints.
Tell a story, simply
The most memorable photos are uncluttered with a clear point of interest or story. Always be thinking ‘less is more;’ always be thinking ‘simple.’ Try placing your subject against a large uniform background; or cropping tightly around the subject. The image to the right has been tightly-cropped to emphasize the man relieving himself against a large sculpture in public. The leading lines of the sculpture also draw the viewer’s eye down to the man.
Add context to your landscapes
Landscapes are usually more impressive in person than in a photo, unless you add some context. Simply by placing something or someone in the foreground you can convey that original sense of scale or depth, as in the bottom photo to the right.
The DSLR is dead; long live the DSLR
While smartphones and tablets are small, light and convenient, as picture-taking devices they are clumsy to control and support, and have poor optics and image quality. Yet, who wants to lug around a bulky DLSR camera? Well, the DSLR is dead and has been replaced by the ILM (“interchangeable lens mirrorless”) camera. ILMs are smaller, lighter and come in models and prices to suit beginners and professionals alike. More and more pro photographers are ditching their DSLRs in favour of ILMs for travel and local shooting. The top models are made by Fujifilm, Olympus and Sony. For more details, check them out at www.TheWirecutter.com. I do not have an ILM myself, but my next camera will be one.
Camera makers rarely include a printed manual with most newer cameras. Be prepared—download the camera manual file and put it on your smartphone or tablet or a USB stick before you leave. Then refer to it right now and set your camera to its maximum quality settings (most pixels, highest quality). You’ll thank me later when you discover you’ve taken the most amazing vacation photos ever and you would like some really, really large prints. Bon voyage!