Tuesday, 23 March 2010

How to take great holiday pictures

The holiday season is coming up fast. One of the most popular activities during the holidays is taking pictures of family, friends, and events. With the proliferation of digital cameras, it's now easier than ever. And you don't have to worry about developing costs, so take as many as you want and sort through them later to save the best.

One of the keys to taking good photos is to fill the frame. What that means is to decide on your focal point like a person or object, and make sure you get a close up shot. If you want to make sure you get a little background in to set the stage so to speak, that's fine but make sure that the primary subject is at least 75% of the shot. And watch out for background elements (like a pole that looks like it's running through someone's head) that may not contribute to the photo.

Another good idea is to keep the Sun or primary light source to your back. Why? If you shoot a photo with a bright light shining into your lens, the automatic features will use that level of light to expose the photo. So this makes the subject matter often look dark. Some cameras may have a feature to overcome this but it's often better to just keep the strongest light behind your or at least not pointing directly into your lens.

Most new digital cameras come with a 3X zoom (that's a an optical zoom and not digital since digital doesn't produce very good results) built in so don't be afraid to use it. This allows you to stay out of the way and still get good close up photos. If you are using a flash due to low light, remember that flashes are only meant for about 10 or 12 feet, after that the light drops off dramatically.

Another good trick that many professional photographers use is to bracket. All that means is that they try different settings (some cameras has adjustments in regard to exposure) and take as many photos as they can so they can sort through the photos and pick the best one. A great feature that most digital cameras have is a small LCD viewer so that you can see the photo right after shooting it.

This LCD viewer may not show the exact lighting or the full frame but will definitely help you decide to keep the shot or re-shoot it. Some point and shoot cameras don't have exposure controls (usually settings that allow the exposure time or/and the lens opening size or F-stop, or film speed adjustments). But you still can check the lighting and composure to see how it looks.

If you're going for action shots (people are in motion) and want to stop the action, the lighting is critical if you have an automatic exposure (commonly called point and shoot) camera. The reason is that the lower the light, the longer a good exposure takes in time. Obviously if your subject is moving, if it takes too long for the exposure you may get a blurred result. On an adjustable camera you would want to increase the film speed (asa in traditional films), open the lens wider (F-stops are measured in numbers, the larger the number the greater size of lens opening and the faster the exposure), or use a flash.

When you first get a new camera it's always a good idea to read the manual and familiarize yourself with the different controls and features. Experiment, take some test shots to see exactly how your camera will work in different scenarios. If you are going to be shooting in special circumstances, practice under similar conditions and see what works. I know, reading some of these manuals is like a foreign language and can be confusing. If you know someone who has the same camera or knowledge of photography, ask for a little help.

Taking good holiday photos is pretty easy with a little practice and leaning some very basic techniques. Keep the light source behind you, fill the frame, don't be afraid to take multiple shots, and know your camera.

Learn more about Kids Digital Cameras here: Digital Cameras For Kids. Find out what makes a good child's digital camera: Childs Digital Camera.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Dow

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