10 vacation photography tips from pros
Get up high. Get down low. Just don’t take your photo from standing height, if you want to take really spectacular vacation photos. Try a new perspective.
This advice comes from professional photographer Molly Plann, with Perfect Plann Photography in Hawaii. Plann knows. One of her specialties is taking pictures of the beach.
Here are some other pro tips on taking awesome vacation photos (and some of the experts’ favorite products to help):
• Use your cell phone if you’re going to the beach. If you take a fancy camera, you run the risk of it getting stolen or ruined by sand. Nice equipment can get ruined from even a casual splash of salt water.
• Most camera phones have HDR, which is what you want to use on the beach. HDR is great for scenery when you have very bright light and dark shadows. Just make sure your subject doesn’t move while you take it.
• If you bring your phone to the beach, buy an expensive waterproof cover. The LifeProof case for your iPhone will protect your phone from water damage in up to six and a half feet of water, and can also protect your phone from drops to the ground. LifeProof case, on sale $48.99 (plus 2% Cash Back), BestBuy.com
Nicole Hart with Nicole Hart Photography, of Portland, says:
• The best times to shoot outdoors are very early morning and about an hour before sunset. The sun is softer and shadows are less harsh. Photographers call this the “golden hour” for a reason.
• Avoid cliches. “Photography is an art, so avoid just having someone stand in front of a landmark. Think outside the box and consider other ways and angles to take the picture,” she says.
• Life moves fast, so watch your shutter speed to make sure everyone is in focus. Don’t trust a quick glance at your tiny preview screen. Hart (who specializes in shooting families and wiggly children) says she never shoots below 1/250, and usually bumps it up even more.
• She recommends getting a Hoodman to help you see your pictures better, especially in the bright sunlight.
• If you’re not professionally trained, shoot a lot of pictures. Bring extra batteries and memory cards. The memory card you choose depends on your camera, but Best Buy’s “Extreme” 32 gig memory card has sustained write speeds for high-def videos. ScanDisk Extreme 32 GB CF Memory Card, $49.99 (plus Cash Back), BestBuy.com
Nina Reed, with Nina Reed Photography in Colorado says:
• Visit famous sites at sunrise or sunset. Not only is the lighting better then, but there will be fewer people around, too.
• Don’t bring a camera that’s so expensive that you wouldn’t hand it to a stranger to take your picture. Otherwise, you’ll come home with lots of photos of buildings and other people, but none of yourself. An inexpensive one-step-up from a smartphone is the Canon PowerShot SX610. It’s nothing fancy, but it makes sharing easy, and just over $200. Canon PowerShot SX610, $229.99 (plus Cash Back), BestBuy.com