Vacation Photography Tips – Part 1

Your family timeshare rental vacation is a wonderful time for bonding, and is full of memories that will last everyone a lifetime. Part of the memory making is the picture taking. You don't have to enroll in a photography class at your local college for great family vacation pictures - just follow these tips from some of the pros, compiled by Douglass K. Daniel, a writer and editor with the Washington bureau of The Associated Press, in our first of a two-part series.
  1. Start shooting before you leave home. This is especially important if you have a new digital camera. "Reading the manual on the plane is not enough," says Washington, D.C.-based photographer Eliot Cohen. "At that point it's way too late. Practice with it before you take important pictures." Shooting at home, without the pressures of trying to get those once-in-a-lifetime pictures on the trip, will help you become familiar with the camera.

  2. When photographing a landscape, make the foreground interesting. "A rock, tree or statue can work," says Scott Stuckey, author of National Geographic's "Ultimate Field Guide to Travel Photography" and managing editor of its Traveler magazine. "Even better is a shot of a person doing something that relates to the landscape — a fisherman tending his nets, a cowboy on horseback, even a tourist taking a picture."

    And sunsets? "They really aren't all that interesting," Stuckey says. Sure, take a shot of the setting sun, and then "…turn around and photograph the landscape where the setting sunlight is falling, with the sun at your back. That's where the interest lies," points out Stuckey.

  3. Go beyond the posed picture. "Vacation pictures are about remembering moments, not just places," says Susan Walsh, an Associated Press photographer. "Shots of your companions in action will capture the fun of a trip. They remind you what you were doing," Walsh says, "whether it's how hard it was to climb up that mountain or splashing in the pool or paddling a canoe."

    And don't forget to include the locals, Scott Stuckey advises. "They reveal the character of a destination more than any other photographic subject."

  4. Get as close as you can to your subject. Try to move in and "fill your frame," says Charles Dharapak, an AP staff photographer in Washington. "If you can get closer, I'd say the results will be sharper." Avoid using the camera's zoom in low-light situations. "The zoom lens usually engages a slower shutter speed to collect more light," explains Dharapak, "which increases the chance of blur from movement."

Read Vacation Photography Tips – Part 2
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