Wednesday 18 July 2012

Tips for better holiday photographs

A few weekends ago we sailed to a desert island where the sun shone bright. We built castles in the sand and searched for sea life in rock pools. Precious family time - that will live long in our memories.

Our childhood is made up of precious moments that are often recalled by photographs. Family holidays and days out are some of the fondest childhood memories we all have, whether it’s of a rainy trip to the zoo or building sandcastles on the beach – looking at a photograph brings it all back to life.

So how do you transform an ordinary snap in to a photograph that really captures the moment? I hope the following will help you take better photographs whether you are at home or away…

Get to know your camera

The main thing, whether you are using a camera phone, point and shoot, or a digital SLR, is to understand how it works and the only way you can get to know your camera is by playing around with it. When you start off don’t worry about capturing the perfect photograph – you will learn just as much from your mistakes as your successes.
Test the different settings: portrait mode or ‘aperture priority’ is great to draw attention to your subject by blurring the background. If your little one is full of energy and wants to run around you will need a fast shutter speed; sports mode will help capture the action.

See the light

We all love bright, sunny days but squinting into the sunshine doesn’t make for a pretty picture - try and look for open shade and position your family in the soft even light it provides. When shooting indoors switch off your flash and position your subject facing a window– using the flash will create harsh and unflattering light.

Get down with the kids

Scoop down to your child's eye level and see things from their perspective. You’ll get better expressions and they’ll engage with you more. Move with them and play around with the angle to get interesting and dynamic images.

Don't be a poser

Older children may want to put on a show for the camera – although big cheesy grins can look fun - try and shoot your photos candidly. Stand back and capture your children naturally without them looking at the camera, a zoom lens can help. It’s really important to me as a mum and a photographer to capture families as they really are without them posing for the camera.

Be composed

Thinking about the composition of your photograph will make a huge difference to the end result. A good tip is to divide the frame into thirds and position the subject off centre, the photograph will be more interesting than with the subject in the middle of the frame.

Get in the picture

You don’t want to look at the photos in 20 years’ time and be asked “Where are you Mummy?” Involve the kids and let them have a go pressing the shutter. You’ll also get a different perspective if the whole family takes the shots. Use the self-timer and ask fellow tourists to take photos of you all or consider hiring a professional if you want to capture the entire family together.

Capture the big and small things

Remember to capture not only photos of your children but also your surroundings, the local sights, landscapes and the tiny details – your names written in the sand, your favourite local food, the small things that tell the story of your time together.

Make it fun

Capture your children doing what they like doing best and you’ll get them at their best - Kite flying in the park, baking cakes or feeding the ducks. Some children don’t like to be photographed so get them involved in choosing locations and show them the photos you’ve just taken on the screen rather than pointing the camera at them the entire time. If it’s not happening respect that and try again another time.

Enjoy your photos

Print your photos – don’t let them sit unloved on your computer. Think of imaginative ways to display them such as in a photo book or framed collage. It’s important to preserve these memories for future generations to enjoy – we’ve all been able to enjoy the old black and white family photos of our grandparents. Your grandchildren won’t have the same pleasure if your photos are lost on a CD that can’t be opened.

These pointers should help you improve your technique but the most important thing is spending time together and enjoying capturing it all on camera – have fun!

To book a session call me on 07941 967764 or visit my website.
All photographs are copyright Jess Morgan Photography. Jess Morgan Photography specialises in the natural-light photography of babies, toddlers, children and families in West London and Surrey (Richmond upon Thames, St Margarets, Twickenham, Teddington, Hampron, West Molesey, Kingston upon Thames, Surbiton, Kew, Chiswick, Barnes, East Sheen, Putney, Fulham, Wimbledon, Dorking, Esher, Weybridge and Cobham)

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