Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Renee of Renee Angela Photography. We’ve known each other since 2005, and it’s been fun to collaborate with her. Renee’s serving up some great tips for you today – read on to find out how to use your point and shoot camera better while traveling.
Hi there, and thanks so much to Thrifty Travel Mama for the opportunity to guest post here! I’m excited to get know you all and pass along some great tips and tricks for taking some awesome travel photos!
Today we are going to touch on the subject of how to effectively use your point and shoot camera while on family vacation.
First things first: read your manual. Listen, I know reading manuals amounts to zero fun… but they package them with your camera for a reason! With every camera I’ve ever owned, I’ve read the manual first (okay, nerd alert!).
Wait…I hear you screaming… “But what if I don’t even have my manual?! That thing went into the trash the second I pulled it out of the box!” Well, you should be able to go to your manufacturer’s website and pull up a PDF of the manual.
The manual is important is because it tells you exactly what all those icons on the dials and buttons do. For example, that thing that looks like a mountain is landscape mode – but guess what?! You don’t have to use it just for landscape!
After you’ve taken the time to read your manual and get familiar with those little doohickey-icons, the next best thing you can do is USE YOUR CAMERA!! Take it out with you everywhere. Take photos of everything! Have you ever heard the saying “Practice makes Perfect”? Well, I prefer to say “Practice Makes Better” and that’s exactly what you want…to get better.
Let’s say you and your cute little family has finally made a trip oversees. You have day dreams of capturing the sweetest on your babies’ faces. But then you remember all those times you’ve tried to do just that in real life, and the result looks like a scene from the Blair Witch Project (so blurry you can’t even recognize the person in the picture!). Well, I am here to help!
Here are my Top 3 tips for improving your travel family photos using your point and shoot camera.
Tip #1. Stop thinking about your image in a frame. Stop accidentally cutting off the tops of heads and limbs. Leave lots of space around your subject. Start thinking outside the box.
Example… If your son or daughter is swimming in the ocean, try turning the camera vertical. Sure, you’re photographing your child arms stretched out like they’re belly surfing, but by leaving a lot of space in the top of the frame, you’ve got more than just a choppy cropped shot.
Learn the rule of thirds. If your point and shoot has a bunch of bells and whistles then you might be able to go into the menu and turn on the “guide lines”. This basically means that your subject should fall on one of the cross points of the upper half of the grid instead of centering your subjects.
Tip #3. Learn your presets. A quick rundown…
Portrait Mode – This is great for taking..yup…portraits! You know those times when you’re traveling, and your kids are sitting on a ledge or maybe even near a fountain, and you’re thinking, “They’re sitting still! Quick, get a picture or it didn’t happen!” Get up close (just above the head to the chest, or just above the head to the knees), use your rule of thirds, put it on the portrait preset, make sure the sun isn’t behind them or making them squint, and snap the picture!
Sports Mode – This is a great one for kids. Let’s say you just took that awesome picture of your kids being cute AND sitting still. Now they’re all hyped-up and running around like, well, kids. These are fun images to capture too! For these kind of shots, you’ll want to want flip your preset over to the Sports Mode (this makes your shutter speed fast to essentially freeze movement). Try to keep the kids in the left half or the right half of the frame and not the center, make sure you get their whole bodies but not a lot of excess scenery, and snap away!
Mountain Icon/Landscape Mode – This preset is great for those group shots in front of that really amazing cathedral in Spain, or maybe the Colosseum in Rome, or the Leaning tower of Pisa in Italy. This will increase the depth of field so that everything (foreground, middle ground, and background) is in focus. The portrait mode is the opposite of landscape mode. If you wanted to blur out the background for this same shot then you’d switch it to portrait mode and you’d have your family in focus and everything else will have a slight blur to it.Well – that’s it for today! Your homework is to pull out your camera, get in the yard with the kids, and start practicing!
Next time I’ll go over “creating a story” with your travel images, and how to capture those in the moment.
Renee is a professional portrait photographer at Renee Angela Photography.
She has studied the art since she was a junior in High School and hasn’t looked back. Renee currently lives in the Dallas area of Texas, is engaged to be married to her super awesome fiancee, and is the mom of 2 very loved and very spoiled dogs.