It’s summer. Time for vacation; for catching the breaking dawn; chasing that brilliant sunset; capturing the romantic panorama from the hills; camping in the jungle and birdwatching. At times like these a good camera is a handy tool for the traveller for vibrant and dynamic images.
Here are seven golden rules for getting the best from your camera during your travels this summer:
GET YOUR PHOTO KIT READY
Take control of the picture-taking process by learning the technical stuff so you can take your camera off the fully automatic or program settings. Hence, choice of equipment is important. The three options to consider include compact digital cameras (digicams or point-and-shoot), Compact System Cameras (CSC) or Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras (MILC) and Digital Single Lens Reflex (D-SLR) cameras. Accessories like a flash, tripod, shutter-release cable or remote wireless switch, filters and lens hoods are all useful additions. These items will enhance your experience.
CHASE LIGHT IN SUMMER
It’s summer and you’re in good luck with abundant natural light. This helps to transform a subject or scene from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Most subjects are enhanced by the warm light created by the low angle of the sun in the one to two hours after sunrise and before sunset. If you’re serious about creating good pictures, this is the time to be out and about shooting. Correct exposure means the sensor is exposed to just the right amount of light to record the intensity of colour and details in the scene.
PRACTISE FOR BETTER PHOTOS
Planning and executing a shoot of your own city is a great way to practise your research skills, test your camera equipment, perfect your technique, develop your eye and get a feel for changing light. Buy a guidebook, check out the postcards and souvenir books, and draw up a shot list. You can then use this knowledge to plan your trips away from home a little more accurately to meet your goals.
PLAN YOUR PHOTO TIME
Research and planning help to get to the right place at the right time. Photographers demand more time in a place than the average camera-toting tourist – sometimes just a few extra minutes can make all the difference. Get up early. The light is often at its best, the activity in towns and markets is at its most intense and interesting. The sun may come out or go in and the light may fall on the city’s most beautiful building. Check out the dates of special events such as festivals, public holidays and weekly markets. The spectacle, colour and crowds of these special days provide so many great photo opportunities.
Minimise unattractive red eyes in people pictures with your camera’s setting. Ask your subject not to look directly into the lens. Increase the light in the room, which causes the pupil to close down. Bounce the flash off a reflective surface. Move the flash away from the camera lens. Use the red-eye correction or removal tool found in most image-editing software.
GO RAW FOR PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS
If you want to get the very best results from your digital camera, capture your images using the raw file format, an option available on advanced compacts and DSLR cameras. It’s the format preferred by professional photographers. Raw files are compressed using a lossless process, so they retain all the information originally captured, but are saved to the memory card quickly.
LEARN TO CHOOSE THE BEST IMAGES
We’re all emotionally attached to images we take and often enraptured by our own brilliance. Great – but if you want your pictures to stand out, a disciplined assessment of your pictures will give them the best chance of catching people’s attention and being appreciated. The assessment and selection process is an excellent time for reflection and self-teaching. Your best pictures and worst failures will stand out clearly. Self-critiquing is an important and never-ending process in the life of a photographer.
This article is produced by Lonely Planet India and sponsored by Nikon India.