Your honeymoon may be one of the most exhilarating vacations of your lifetime, and no matter what you do, great photographs help keep memories alive.
If you follow a few of these suggestions, 20 years from now you’ll still remember the brilliant color in that sunset or the sumptuous aromas wafting through that special little bistro.
1. Practice. The flight is not the best time to read up on how to use your new camera. Definitely allow yourself enough time to use your camera and get familiar with all the settings. If you have to stop and fiddle with the zoom or the white balance, you’ll more than likely miss the shot.
2. Adjust the white balance. This helps eliminate the color cast that sometimes plagues digital images. A correct white balance ensures that your pictures accurately reproduce the colors of their subjects. The white balance should be adjusted every time the lighting changes (full sun, nighttime, indoors, outdoors, etc). The white balance will also need to be adjusted when the flash is turned on or off.
3. Turn off the flash. Your camera’s onboard flash is useful for freezing action or for lighting a subject that’s backlit or is in the shadows on a bright, sunny day. But as a general rule, turn the flash off when you’re outdoors, especially when photographing landscapes at night. When you’re indoors, look for ways to use ambient light which will give your images a more natural look.
4. Allow for decent exposure. If you do decide to use ambient light and turn off your flash, you will need to increase your camera’s ISO setting to ensure your images have the correct exposure without unwanted blurring. Experimenting with ISO settings before you leave will help you know where to set the ISO for various environments.
5. Adjust shutter speed. Adjusting the shutter speed of your camera can eliminate unwanted image softness. Many low- to mid-range cameras have a fixed aperturemeaning that the opening through which light passes doesn’t change and the camera must adjust the shutter speed to achieve the proper exposure. If you can adjust the shutter speed, follow this general rule: To ensure your images are sharp, make the shutter speed at least as fast as one divided by the focal length you’re shooting at. That is, if your lens is zoomed to 80 mm, your shutter speed should be set to 1/80 of a second or faster. This rule is especially important when you’re shooting in low light — for example, at night or even in deep shade at high noon — without using flash.
6. Go steady. A tripod may seem like excess baggage, but it’s a necessity for capturing fabulous sunsets or a cityscape after dark. It can also allow you to turn off your flash and capture images with ambient light. Additionally, there are many lightweight, compact models designed specifically for travel.
7. Compose yourself. Why take the same picture everyone else is taking? See what you can do to make it more interesting. Zoom in on the action. Try placing the subject off center, or shoot from a variety of angles. Look for ways to add strong diagonal lines to your images. These are all ways to add more visual impact to your images.
8. Notice the details. Undoubtedly, these small things will be the images you treasure most, if you have the foresight to photograph them. For example, if you have to row across the moat to visit a castle, don’t just photograph the castle. Find a way to tell the entire story.
9. Take extra memory cards or film. Never assume you’ll be able to purchase more at the destination. A spare battery charger is also a good idea, and don’t forget to take a power adapter if you’re leaving the country. Even if you’re fortunate enough to find compatible resources for your camera, who wants to waste a couple of hours looking for them?
10. Budget for high-quality printing. More often than not, consumers spend top dollar on high-end cameras, only to have their hard-earned images printed by the lowest bidder. High-volume online services and labs in national establishments cannot optimize the printing process to give you the best prints possible. Take the time to edit your images, and then have your favorites printed at a custom minilab. The professionals there will work hard and stretch the capabilities of their equipment to provide you with images that will make you smile rather than grind your teeth.
By Susan Snyder, Indigo Studios
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