Gift Guide, Part 2: Pictures Everyone Loves to Receive

Last week I gave you six tips for shooting better "people" shots.

This week, I'll focus on another two types of pictures everyone likes to receive:

** 1) A fine art print that matches a room in their house.

** 2) A sentimental destination shot.

Here are a few tips for taking both… and some guidelines about what sort, exactly, make good gifts:


Fine Art can be good for gift giving, provided you keep a few things in mind.  Pretty much anything you intend to hang on a wall is considered a fine-art shot.  And the key in giving away one of these photographs is matching colors and picking things that your recipient likes to look at.

Pictures of trees, leaves, and cool light patterns might not make the best gift… but an avid bird watcher might like an artsy picture of a bird or bird’s nest.

Buying fine art for others (or giving them a photo from your own collection) can be a tricky venture. So be sure to keep in mind your recipient's taste and décor. Whether you’re looking for images like this to buy or you’re photographing something yourself -- there are a few things you'll want to look for:

** 1) Repeating textures and shapes.

** 2) Color combinations -- colors that appear opposite on the color wheel or colors that are monochromatic (keeping in mind your recipient).

** 3) Ambiguity about what the actual subject may be.


Destinations can be as close as the corner market or your town's windmill or as far as a remote African village or a busy metropolis on the other side of the world.

The trick is to pick a destination that means something to the recipient.  An Eiffel Tower shot doesn’t mean much to someone who’s never been to Paris or might not have enjoyed their trip there. But the Golden Gate Bridge at night might be a great gift for a couple who spent their second honeymoon in San Fran.

When you’re shooting photographs like this or looking through your old travel photos for the best ones, consider those that really show the viewer where you are. A beach shot could be any beach -- but one with the Santa Monica pier in the background really identifies the photo.  A woman sitting in a café could be taken in a bunch of cities -- but a woman sitting in a café reading La Monde says Paris.

Keep in mind that having people in your images (even shadows and silhouettes) adds dynamic interest.

Look for images that are technically good, including lighting and composition; also keep in mind the color, style, and mood of the image.  And consider what would carry or invoke a strong, positive response for your recipient.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]