The weather is warm, the energy is high, and many of us will be entering “vacation mode” at least once this summer.
Whether you can’t go without your DSLR or you reach for your smartphone for a convenient snap, pack a camera whenever you take a trip!
If you want to take quality pictures you’ll be excited to show off in your home, we’ve got some quick tips.
1. Get your timing right.
If you’re going to vacation in Alberta you’ll already be used to when the sun rises and sets. But if you’re vacationing in a new place and wanting to snap a perfect pic, it’s worth looking into the timing and positioning of the light throughout the day.
Search online to know where to be and when to capture a breathtaking sunrise or sunset. Know when the sun is usually highest in the sky for bright scenery photos. In contrast, the "golden hour" is a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset – this is a time most photographers adore for the redder and softer tones it casts!
Check out Stonekick, an app that allows you to view the sun’s path anywhere, at any time.
2. Get off the beaten path.
No, seriously. Get off that pathway, trail, or other areas marked for walking. When it’s safe to do so, hike, climb or otherwise venture into untapped territory in search of some unique views. Summer’s longer days should mean this isn’t a huge hazard, but make sure you know your way back before dark.
3. Obey the rule of thirds.
This is a standard Photography 101 must-know! When looking through your camera lens, the rule of thirds asks that you imagine separating the view into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. Some cameras (including smartphone ones) will show two vertical lines intersecting with two horizontal lines to create a grid on your screen. The trick is to have elements of high visual interest positioned in any of the four intersections. Test it against an unaligned shot – you’ll probably find the rule of thirds creates a balanced, more aesthetically pleasing image.
4. Flirt with the sun.
We’ve touched on how “timing is everything” applies hugely to good photography. But how can we best use the sun to our advantage? Well, you’ll be doing some moving around depending on what it is you’re shooting. For a landscape or larger scene, you’ll probably want the sun behind you to avoid shadows.
However, the opposite can be true if you’re shooting a portrait. Try positioning your subject so the sun is behind them but they're blocking it. This creates an ethereal glowing effect around your subject and prevents weird shading on their face. If you're not positioned at the right angle, though, you’ll pick up sun flares. But, these bursts of light can actually be really fun to experiment with! Nothing says summer more than a candid photo with a brilliant sun flare effect.
5. Tell a story.
Challenge yourself this summer to really contemplate the shots you’re going to take, and have a general plan in mind beforehand. When you’re out adventuring or sight-seeing, photograph things that lend to the story of your trip. For example, you may go to a world-famous restaurant; consider taking pictures of the menu or a decorative ceiling that left you mesmerized. Taking intentional shots can make your images more appealing to others as well; you’re giving them a chance to experience the feelings you felt when you saw the photographed sight.
You’re also helping yourself to not spend all your time snapping pictures of anything and everything. Throughout the day, recognize memorable places, people, or things that, together, symbolize significant parts of a story you can share with others. Spend your time truly enjoying your vacation and only focus on capturing the stand-out moments. Your overall picture quantity may go down, but the quality will be way up!
It is true what they say: a picture’s worth a thousand words. You can tell the story of your summer vacation through captivating images with just a few simple tricks. If you really want the winning shot, a little planning goes a long way. Nevertheless, there’s always something special about an accidental snap of a friend mid-laugh. Our best advice is to experiment – and don’t forget to look beyond the lens!
Ps. Remember to prepare your home for a vacation before you head out. Have fun!