Most of us have taken a photograph at some point in our lives, whether it was with a basic 35mm camera, a smartphone, or a good-quality SLR camera.
But equally, many of us are probably unhappy with some or all of the photographs we take – so how can you make sure you’re left feeling snap happy?
Well, even with the most rudimentary of camera equipment, there are certain steps you can take to help improve your picture quality, both in terms of your choice and framing of the subject, and the quality of the print.
Get to Know Your Camera
Familiarize yourself with your camera’s options – almost all cameras will have the most common features like the choice of whether or not to use a flash.
Brand-name models might also include other capabilities created by the manufacturer; for instance, some Canon cameras can recognize people’s faces in portrait shots, and can stabilize the image if you or the object you are photographing are moving.
Once you know what options your camera has to offer, you can start making the best use of them, so that the technology you hold in your hands when you take each photograph is working as it is intended to do so.
Work With the Conditions
Regardless of the camera equipment you have at your disposal, it’s still important to make sure your shot is not undermined by the conditions in which you take the photograph.
Shooting into sunlight without the correct filters is unlikely to work very well, and generally speaking, only semi-professional cameras and above will support the kinds of filters you need to take photos of the sun itself.
When facing the sun with mass-market camera equipment, check your exposure setting, to try and make sure your image doesn’t end up looking washed out by letting too much light through the shutter.
Check whether you have the option of allowing for a spot source of light, rather than a full frame of diffuse illumination, as the former setting can cut down on the level of glare that appears in your final image.
Frame Your Shot
Finally, make sure you know how to frame your shot – this goes beyond simply holding your camera upright for a portrait or horizontally for an ordinary landscape shot.
One of the biggest mistakes many people make is to place the horizon across the middle of their image, which many professional photographers will tell you to avoid doing.
Instead, try taking a photograph that is one-third sky and two-thirds land, or vice versa, so that the focal point of the picture is not the horizon itself, but a feature elsewhere on the landscape.
Simple measures such as this can help to frame your photograph better – professionals go to great lengths to avoid including only half of an object in their image, or cutting off the top of a tall feature, and by emulating these basic framing considerations, you can add a touch of finesse to your holiday snaps.