In my previous article on photography tips I dealt with light, and light situations and weather conditions like sun, clouds, and rain. Today I will once more take you with me on my trip to South Africa to give you the next five tips for better (vacation) photos.
6. View not straight – adjust the horizon
Since I’ve started to be more deliberate in taking photos, I have an aversion to pictures where the sea seems to be leaking out of the picture and where buildings are falling over. For that reason I am always at pains to ensure that the horizon is straight. I use the grid lines or focus points of the camera to help with the alignment.
But I sometimes I, too, fall for the optical aberration. Don’t lose heart – any picture editing program can straighten the crooked picture. However, if I work more cleanly when I take the photos, I have less work later when editing on the PC.
For landscape pictures like this one, I usually apply the rule of thirds and decide to either show less sky and a lot of land or less land but more sky instead. Dividing the picture into thirds like this makes it more exciting and lends more importance to the element with the larger part of the picture.
7. Pull effect – use existing lines
Especially when it comes to landscape images, I like to use the existing lines and integrate them into the design of the picture. A road which is dead-straight and appears to go on forever, seems to literally pull the viewer into the picture. This is a way to add width and depth to the picture.
Here, too, I applied the rule of thirds mentioned in item 6. I have paid more attention to the landscape to give the lines a more dramatic effect.
8. Including people – setting the scene for ourselves
It is only very rarely that I am seen in my own travel pictures. However, I did really need a lasting memory of standing on Table Mountain with Cape Town lying at my feet. Particularly because I was lucky enough to have a cloudless view and to experience Table Mountain without the tablecloth phenomenon – the famous white tablecloth.
For this photo, I sat at a (safe) rock at the edge of Table Mountain and asked my travel companion to take my photo by including me in the motive by applying the golden section.
This way I have a lasting memento and the depth and width of the view is more accentuated. Generally speaking, motives with people and objects in the foreground seem more exciting as long as these are not placed directly in the middle.
9. Frame it – incorporate the foreground
If there is a tree in the foreground, I like to incorporate it into the picture as a frame. Elements within the frame are given particular importance. The trees in the foreground make the picture seem more plastic and add depth to it. Moreover, in this case the picture seems somewhat mystical and directs the eye into the distance.
10. Open your eyes – watch nature
Good photo subjects are often so close and yet so far away, i.e. sometimes you cannot spot them at first glance. The owl in the next picture is a master of camouflage and is hardly visible against the tree. The surroundings in the picture following seem insignificant and bland at first. Only when you look more closely can you spot the heart which is formed by the branches. You can see how with nature, it is important that you always keep your eyes wide open.
However, when you are on the hunt for good photos there is one thing you should never forget: Just relax! Otherwise your vacation is no longer a vacation.
Christina has been blogging on ‘mrsberry’ about everything that makes her happy. And that’s quite a lot. Her colorful topics range from travel reports over everything about family, her love for digital photography and analog lomography to DIY tips and delicious recipes.