It costs nothing to take multiple shots with a digital camera, so experiment with different techniques. Take both horizontal and vertical shots. Zoom in and out (or reposition yourself if you don’t have a zoom lens) to see if it looks better tightly framed or at a wide angle. Practice with different vantage points. If you’re photographing children or animals crouch low to be on their level. Try taking photographs from an elevated position so that the camera is looking down on the subject. To get some great shots of an event such as a parade or festival visit the location in advance to check out the best place to position yourself.
Seek out the best light conditions
Light is probably the most important factor in taking good photos. The best light occurs early in the morning or in the late afternoon when the sun is lower. It is softer then with more contrast and the yellow magenta dominance to the hues makes them richer and more vivid. The best light often comes during a storm or after the rain so don’t limit yourself to just sunny days for photography. Rainy or misty conditions can also produce some wonderfully atmospheric photo opportunities. Also, watch how the light falls. A ray of light illuminating your subject can transform a photograph.
Frame your subject for more impact
Look for unsightly objects that detract from the main subject then see if there is a way of omitting them from the frame by repositioning yourself or the camera. Follow the rule of thirds instead of placing the main subject in the middle of the frame – it is much more aesthetically pleasing if you have it off to one side. Don’t be afraid to come in really close to a subject: it can create a bold photograph without any clutter distracting the eye.
Capture the unique or unusual details
Aim to look beyond the normal tourist shots. That world-famous historic building in front of you may be stunning but the chances are that the folks back home have seen images of it several times before. The best photographs tell a story. They can be humorous or poignant, or can just capture the essence of a place. So, don’t point your camera in the same direction as the crowds – be ever alert for those unique photo opportunities that you won’t necessarily see elsewhere. When travelling, observe the dress of the people, the food that they sell in the markets, their transport, their crafts, how they decorate their houses. By all means photograph the main sites as well, but if you include some observations of everyday life in your collection you will come back with a much more rounded photographic diary of the place you visited.
Use the manual settings on your camera
Don’t just limit yourself to your camera’s auto button. It may ensure that everything is in focus but sometimes that isn’t the most interesting effect. If something is moving then try using a slower shutter speed to capture that sense of movement. Experiment with different aperture settings too. A large aperture setting (ie smaller F number of 5.6 or less) is good for portraiture photographs as it gives greater depth of field, blurring the background and making the viewer focus on the main object or person in the frame. If your camera is semi-automatic then look for the special settings options such as sports or portraits which have pre-defined settings to give you the best picture.