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Here are a few tips to check out before your trip. Have a tip of your own? Head over to the Contact-Us page and drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.
Focus! …and I don’t mean the lens, that’s obvious. Every photographer knows that there are three elements that make up a great photograph. A picture should have a subject, a theme and it should focus attention… but you probably don’t want to think about all that just to get a few snapshots, so remember the last one – focus attention. How, you ask? One technique is to fill the frame with your subject. If you’re in Rome and want to take a picture of the Colosseum, don’t do it from a half-a-mile away. Although you may be able to see the Eternal City’s most famous structure perfectly well from that distance, it doesn’t translate into a good photo. Get closer. Eliminate distractions. Fill the frame. Focus attention.
Get ready for your closeup! Want a great pic of your family or significant other in front of a famous monument or some other fabulous background you stumbled upon? Fill the frame with the background object then have the people close enough to the camera that you can recognize them. Too many great photos have been ruined because the people in it were too far away and appeared very small in the shot.
Don’t fixate! After you set up your shot but before you press the button, look all around the frame for anything you might not want in the final picture. It’s easy to just fixate on your subject and miss what’s going on around it. And watch out for photobombers!
Filter this! If you’re using an SLR, get a polarizing filter. There are probably thousands of different filters you can use but a polarizer is a must-have for improving the quality of your pictures. A polarizing filter cuts through haze, and makes water and the sky appear bluer. A deep blue sky or a blown out one can make or break a photo. After you attach it to your lens, while you’re framing your shot, you twist this filter around to raise or lower the intensity of its effect.
I Don’t Know’s on third! Wait, then Who’s on first? Right! Anyway, if you want to take a picture of a grand vista, a mountain range or a sunset over the ocean, always remember the Rule of Thirds. What this rule says is, depending on what you’re trying to capture, one third of your photo should be land (or water) and two thirds should be sky, or vice versa. Let’s say you’re trying to take a picture of a beautiful sunset over the ocean, in this case, the sky is the subject so make 2/3 of the photo sky and 1/3 water. Or, you might decide that it would look better the other way around and only want to show 1/3 sky and 2/3 water – that’s okay too, it’s up to your artistic judgement. The thing to avoid here is splitting the scene down the middle. Search the web for “sunset pictures” or “mountain range pictures” and you’ll see what I mean. Now that you know the Rule of Thirds, you’ll never look at picture the same way again!
Go long! Many cell phone cameras, and even digital SLR’s have a panorama feature, if you haven’t tried it out yet, give it a shot (pun intended). Whether you’re out exploring the countryside or hanging out in the big city, these big, long photographs are fun to look at on a PC when you get back home.
One size fits all! Well, in the world of photography, not really but for you folks who are bringing the SLR along, try to bring just one, versatile lens instead of lugging two or more around. Personally I have a 55-300mm zoom that I like. 55mm is the “normal” lens for an SLR so it’s not exactly wide angle but it gets the job done and the fact that it zooms in to 300mm helps me to bring those far away objects in close.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these tips, if you can put just one of them to use the next time the opportunity arises, you’re on your way to taking better photographs forever.
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