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Top 10 list - how to take better holiday photos

With today's automatic cameras almost anyone can produce a sharp, well-exposed image. But how do you take really good holiday photographs - ones you'll want to look at again and again? Read on for some tips and advice.

  1. One of the most common mistakes when taking pictures is not getting close enough to the subject. Most people waste about 80% of their film by not using the whole frame. Don't let your pictures suffer from the "Holly at the Grand Canyon" syndrome, with a tiny subject and lots of boring, irrelevant space. When you put the camera to your eye, ask if what interests you is prominent in the viewfinder. If not, move closer or zoom the lens tighter to make it a larger part of the photo.
  2. Hold the camera steady - it's tempting to just "grab" a quick shot. Sometimes this is necessary, but a blurred photo can't be used to help tell the story. Relax, take a breath, then squeeeeze the shot.
  3. Placement - you may have heard of the "rule of thirds". This is simply dividing your frame into thirds and placing your subject on one of these imaginary divisions. Thus your subject will be slightly off center. This makes for a more interesting photograph, one that will help "pull focus" onto your subject.
  4. Don't let a cluttered background overwhelm or obscure your subject. Move around, or lie down, to get a clear shot at your subject without the distractions.
  5. Look out for trees, lamp posts, and other background objects which might merge with your subject in unfortunate ways
  6. Try framing your picture with foreground objects to add depth to the image. For instance, you could frame your Aunt Edna sitting in her garden with a tree (framing the side), a table (framing along the bottom), or both.
  7. Try unusual angles - be bold! Try turning your camera to 45 degrees before snapping a picture. Or instead of snapping it from eye level, kneel down or lie on the ground to get a more interesting shot.
  8. Pay Attention to lines - curves, straight lines, and diagonals add energy and movement to your compositions. Let roads and rivers draw the viewer into the image or lead the viewer's eye in a specific direction. Watch for natural geometric patterns and place yourself at an interesting angle to them.
  9. Relative size - make sure that the subject you want to focus on is large in the frame relative to other elements in the picture. Fill the frame with your subject!
  10. Lighting - use selective lighting to help create emphasis on your subject. For example, compose your photograph so that your intended subject is lit while other elements of the picture are in the shadows.
 

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