Photography blogger and former Thomson Airways cabin crew member, Adam Hope, shares his top tips for taking great travel photos without splurging on pricey equipment and on a tight holiday budget…
Whether you’re off to soak up the sun in Sharm or partying in Palma, no holiday is complete without some great snaps to take home. That being said, professional cameras can be expensive – and after you’ve worked hard for your holiday, you probably don’t want to spend a fortune on costly equipment.
But fear not, with some helpful hints and tips from the photo printing experts at Digitalab, you can get some great holiday snaps regardless of your equipment. Lighting, composition and timing are far more important than flashy kit – and the best part? They’re all free.
Don’t Ditch The Disposable
While disposable cameras are almost obsolete compared to today’s gadgets, they still have their uses and, with the right technique, can result in some fun holiday snaps. Keep your expensive digital camera safe in the hotel while you’re down at the beach – opting for a cheap, waterproof disposable camera on-the-go. This means you can fully relax and enjoy the beach without worrying about your valuables.
When it comes to disposable cameras, it’s all about good lighting. With no settings or controls on the camera, you’re reliant on the scene in front of you to ensure a good shot.
Top tip: Avoid anything too dark and keep your back to the sun to ensure the best exposures – they’re great for mid-day activities when the sun is directly overhead.
Nearly every compact digital camera has a ‘night mode’ or ‘night’ setting. However, the slower shutter speed can result in blurry shots. While the flash can solve this, it should be as a last resort – as the results are never usually flattering and tend to turn the background into a wall of black.
Top tip: For evening portraits, position your subject so that they’re facing the brightest ambient light source, allowing you to keep the shutter speed as high as possible and reduce the risk of blur while still capturing the atmospheric evening lights without using the flash.
If you’re shooting a scenic shot at night, keep things crisp by perching your camera on a flat surface such as a wall or table to compensate for the slow shutter speed – or invest in a mini tripod for expert shots on a shoestring.
Bright sunshine can often bleach the colour out of landscape shots, leaving vistas looking a little washed out. Keep some interest in your shots by mixing some colour into the foreground.
Top tip: Suncream, sea and sand can be a camera’s worst nightmare, so make sure you keep your lens dust and smear free to avoid blurry shots.
No holiday album would be complete without a sunset shot. This can present a unique challenge, as cameras – like the human eye – don’t tend to fare well when looking directly at the sun. Luckily, the vast majority of compact digital cameras come with a sunset mode.
Top tip: Find your camera’s white balance settings and play around with different options to bring out the best of the sky’s orange tones.
Underwater photography can be fun but challenging. Whether you’re using a disposable or one of the newer waterproof compact cameras on the market, it often takes some trial and error to get the best shots.
Take your underwater photos during the middle of the day, when the sun is at its peak and the most light is penetrating the surface of the water. Keep your subject close to the surface where the light is, and have fun getting creative with some underwater acrobatics.