It’s vacation time! And as we head out, many of us will be bringing along our camera. Here are some tips to help you snap great vacation shots.
Research, research, research!
Do some research beforehand to find out as much as you can about your destination. Look through area guidebooks like those published by Lonely Planet or Rough Guides. Do Internet searches. Be on the lookout for locations that are repeatedly photographed. These are often places that are especially picturesque or of particular local interest. The idea isn’t necessarily to copy these photos but rather to capture the area in a way that is uniquely yours.
Find out about any special events or festivals that may be taking place while you are there. Learn about any noteworthy architecture, important monuments, historical sites and interesting communities in the area. Read up on travel blogs and sites to get ideas for little known, off-the-beaten-path locations.
When you arrive at your destination, make friends with the locals and ask about any favorite and interesting spots that you should visit. Talk to your hotel concierge. Peruse the postcards at local shops for ideas on popular and not-so-popular attractions.
Know your camera.
Learn to use your camera before you go on vacation.
It’s easy to miss a shot while fumbling around with your equipment. And that can be especially problematic when you are on vacation, in a remote locale, for what could be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. You may very well not have another chance to get that shot.
So before you pack up your suitcase, spend some time getting familiar with your camera and its controls and settings. That way, you will be up and running and ready to snap pictures as soon as you get to your destination.
Be sure you know how to:
- Change and replace the memory storage card.
- Recharge the battery.
- Move images from the camera to a computer or an external storage device.
- Turn the flash on and off and how to use fill flash if you camera features that as an option.
- Work with the camera’s self timer.
- Learn about your camera’s image stabilization system if it has one.
- Control your camera’s focusing.
- Change the ISO setting.
- Work with the white balance settings.
- Shoot a panoramic image if your camera has that feature.
- Work with your camera’s scene modes and know when to use each. If you are shooting with a more advanced camera, learn how and when to use the Aperture- and Shutter-priority modes.
- Fine tune exposure using exposure compensation and, if you are shooting with a more advanced model camera, learn to use its exposure bracketing feature.