Princeton Capital Blog

Taking Great Vacation Photographs

July 5th, 2013

photos on vacationTaking Great Vacation Photographs

Vacation snaps are so much easier now that we have digital cameras and the ability to take pictures with smart phones. We can see immediately if we cut off anyone’s head or if someone accidentally photo-bombed. Also, we can take a lot of pictures quickly.

In the old days, we would have to buy film and be careful not to run out of snapshots before we ran out of vacation because film was expensive to buy wherever we went.

And then there was the cost (not to mention the time) for developing the films. And if a small child had gotten ahold of the camera and took 24 pictures of mom and dad sleeping….well, the parents would find out why they ran out of film faster then they expected.

Quick Tips

  1. If you buy a new camera for a special trip, buy it a few weeks in advance so you can read the manual and practice taking pictures. You don’t want to be figuring out the focus when you only have 30 seconds to make that perfect shot of the sunrise on Mount Haleakala. Also buy extra memory cards unless you intend to download every day’s photos. And even then, it’s better to have one spare card just in case.
  2. Learn about composition. If you’ve got a picture that you’re putting together a large landscape, have something in the foreground that is interesting. Find a unique vantage point. If you’re at a zoo or amusement park, try making static displays look alive. Look into close-ups, texture, or wide-angle.
  3. Don’t forget spontaneous photo. There will be a lot more fun remembering the trip when you look at some action shots as well as the posed pictures.
  4. Learn about lighting. The best light is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset which is why most professionals do their photographs then. The midday sun tends to make everything look flat and washed out. Also, look for shadows and how they’re going to impact the picture. A tree branch may block out sun but not be obviously a shadow. Take practice shots with and without the flash to see how that affects the snapshot.
  5. Don’t hide the reality. Remember, your vacation is like a story. You want to capture the story. Get off the beaten path and find the unique and unexpected part of the journey.
  6. Learn how to make panoramic shots. Many cell phone cameras have this ability now.

And the bottom line is that the best way to get a good picture is to take a lot of pictures. Even Ansel Adams left a lot of his negatives on the dark room floor. Professionals use only about 1.5% of all the shots they take.

Sometimes, the perfect shot is a one in a million chance. But don’t forget to come out from behind the camera and enjoy the experience as well.

What type of camera do you use?

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