Capturing those precious moments through a camera lens goes part and parcel with any memorable holiday.
It could be a romantic snap of your beloved in front of a dreamy West Country sunset, an adorable close-up of grinning ice-cream-covered faces, or a heart-warming vignette of your pooch running wild on the foreshore.
Wherever you point your lens, here are a few basic tips for you to remember next time you’re zooming in on that special holiday scene.
Catch it while you can
Take your camera everywhere! Candid shots of everyone having fun produce some really beautiful photos. Nab a shot of a genuine laugh or expression when your subject isn’t aware of the camera. Plus, you wouldn’t want to miss unexpected moments, like the look on dad’s face as a pesky seagull steals this Cornish pasty!
Keep half an eye on the background
It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment when you’ve spotted an unmissable photo opportunity. Making sure you have a natural-looking, unobtrusive background is vital if you want the focus of your picture to remain just that, so keep an eye out for those all too often comical encroachments, for example the tree branches growing out of granny Irene’s ears, or the boat mast sprouting from uncle Terry’s head.
Get your approach right
Our next tip will hopefully prevent you from getting your angles wrong, so start thinking ‘eyes’. So many portrait photos lose their precious sense of intimacy because the photographer hasn’t adjusted to the subject’s eye level, which can be remedied by the simple act of dropping down on one knee. If you make sure you’re somewhere close to eye level your photos will be far more striking.
Don’t forget to zoom
Try to fill your photo with either your subject or your principal focal point so as not to miss out on any of that lovely character or gorgeous detail. Remember not to get too close or your photo might become blurry – the closest focusing distance for most cameras is approximately one metre.
Flash & Focus
You might want to position your subject out of the centre of the photo to take advantage of a scenic backdrop or gain a more dramatic perspective. Most cameras have an auto-focus function which focuses on whatever is at the centre of your picture. If you lock in your auto-focus by holding the shutter button halfway down, you can reposition your subject away from centre stage. When you’re happy, press down fully on the shutter button and take your picture.
When using your flash, be aware of its maximum range which is about four metres. In bright sunlight, you might encounter shadows, so turn your flash on to combat this: use fill flash mode for close-ups and full flash mode if the subject is beyond a metre away. If you’re using a digital camera, refer to your picture display panel.
Timing it right with natural light
Bright sun can be both a blessing and a curse, so try repositioning either yourself or your subject if you notice too much shine or glare; a softer light can be kinder on wrinkles and blemishes. Early mornings conjure up some lovely, natural hues which can have a stunning impact on photos of landscapes. If you’d rather enjoy lazy lie-ins, try taking your snaps towards the end of the day, when warm tones will make your photos even more appealing.
Snap the small stuff
Whilst wide range scenery shots are great, focusing on small details is a fantastic way to remember your holiday, and can create some really interesting photos! Snap a close up of a freshly caught Salcombe crab, that pretty shell you found on the beach or a delicious meal you all enjoyed. Looking back through these photos will give you a real sense of being back on holiday.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again
Don’t expect to get the perfect shot first time. Take lots of photos using different angles, poses and perspective. You can go through them all when you get home to pick out the best ones and delete the others, and at least this way you won’t have missed the perfect shot.
Make sure to pass the camera around and take it in turns to take the photos. How will anyone know you were on holiday too if you stay hidden behind the camera?
Staying confident behind the lens
Don’t be shy when it comes to organising and directing. Be inventive with your subjects’ poses; keep things natural, spontaneous, fun, and also slightly disorderly. Try changing the angle of your camera. Get down lower to the ground, and you might spot pretty wildflowers that will give your shot a pop of colour. Or why not take an aerial shot of the hidden coves you discover whilst walking the South West Coast Path for a different perspective? Stay confident and alert and you won’t go far wrong.
Our Toad Hall holiday cottages are pretty as pictures. Browse our ever-growing listings and discover your dream West Country setting.