We are in the throws of the school summer holidays and for many of us we will be trying to find entertainment for the little, and not so little ones to do. We will be visiting places that will (hopefully) make for a great family day out, be it abroad or at home. Capturing those special moments will be one of the jobs on the list!

I thought it would be helpful to give some straight forward tips on getting a beautiful picture that will be a keeper!

So get those camera’s out…and no, it doesn’t matter what camera you’ve got!

Tip 2 – Rule of Thirds. The idea behind the rule of thirds is meant to help you achieve more balanced images when taking pictures.

Turn on the grid lines on your iPhone: go to Settings / Photos & Camera / Grid (turn on). This will help you to line up your photos.

This website has a useful overview http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/

Tip 3: As nice as it is to have photos of everyone looking at the camera and not pulling silly faces, it can be difficult. Children especially don’t want their attention dragged away from their activity to have their photo taken.

So my tip for today is to take photos when your subject(s) are oblivious to you and your camera. Look, anticipate and snap the moment!

Tip 4: More tips for those of you who are using your smart phones to take pictures.

Focusing on a specific thing (person, animal, building etc) can be a little tricky if you haven’t got a steady hand or enough light. To help with this you can use some of the built in functions on your phone.

📷 To lock the focus on your subject, press and hold down, on what you would like the camera to focus on, until you see the AE/AF Lock alert show up. Now your camera will keep that point locked in focus. 

📷 You can then use the exposure slider to increase the brightness of your picture. Up is brighter, down is darker. Then snap, a well lit and focused photo!

NB: why not use the volume buttons when taking a picture, it is easier to ‘click’ than pressing the button on the screen #oldschoolstyle 

Tip 5: Create a silhouette. You can do this on your smartphone or on a compact camera (as long as you can get to the manual (ISO) settings). Here’s how to do it:

📷 Choose a subject that has a strong shape so it is easily recognisable as a dark silhouette, e.g. a person, building or tree.

📷 Shoot towards the sun, preferably when the sun is low in the sky so that you can position it behind your subject.

📷 Use the ‘focus lock’ and ‘exposure slider’ I mentioned yesterday. Lock focus on your subject, then reduce your brightness down until your subject appears as a silhouette.

– Use simple backgrounds to place maximum emphasis on the silhouette.
– For indoor silhouettes, position your subject in front of a window or a strong artificial light source.

Tip 6:  Black and white photos are great for creating a timeless and classic image. It helps to emphasise emotion, as well as highlighting beauty and skin tone. It is also great when there are lots of unwanted colours around which pulls the attention away from the subject.

Tip 7: I am guilty of trying to photograph every precious moment with my children and, with the convenience and quality of phone cameras, I am tempted to whip it out and snap everything funny, silly or outright ridiculous that my children do. In doing so, I sometimes miss out on enjoying the moment with them.

Sometimes we must enjoy our children and loved ones with our eyes, and store those moments in our long term memory. It is invigorating to ‘live in the moment’ and experience life with them, rather than alongside them.

So, after you have taken a picture or two to mark the occasion, why not pack your camera away; two pictures will tell the same story as 50 of the same thing.