Summer Photos: Do's and Dont's

Hello from sunny Colorado. Jen Stevens here again this week as your guest editor while Lori is in Paris.

Before you scroll down to today’s Photo Tip, I wanted to share with you some exciting news I spotted in Popular Photo Magazine. It seems Denver, Colorado -- where we’ll be holding our Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop this July -- was just voted the number one most “Photo Friendly” city in the U.S.

In the article, writer Neal Matthews points out that, “Denver’s smooth braiding of mountain trails, historic architecture, and nightlife engenders a visual confidence and boldness that’s attracted photographers for 150 years.”

So it’s fitting that professional photographer Shelly Perry will be there with us this July. She’s hosting two one-day photography workshops -- one before and one after our main event. Join her for either of them, and you’ll discover, hands-on, how to take advantage of your surroundings to create a saleable article/photo package. (And you can’t get much better surroundings than summertime in the most “Photo Friendly” city in the U.S.)

Scroll down for some tips from Shelly on taking photos this summer… do’s and don’ts you can use when you head out to research and snap photos for your next story…

-- Jen

Jennifer Stevens
Guest Editor

June 10, 2009
The Right Way to Travel, Weekly Photo Tip

By Shelly Perry in Portland, OR

Summer is a great time for outdoor photography. There’s lots going on around town, you’re not weighed down by bulky winter gear, you don’t have to worry about protecting your camera in the rain, and you’ve got a lot more daylight to work with.

But as the weather heats up and you take your camera outdoors, summer presents its own challenges -- like bright, intense light that can be tricky to expose properly.

Whether you’re taking photos to sell on their own, or to compliment your articles, here are a few summertime do’s and don’ts to help guarantee excellent shots:

** DON’T take photos at midday if you can help it. Or, if you have no choice, try to find some open shade or diffused daylight. Avoid “dabbled” light -- or partially shaded with bright spots -- this will only cause problems.

** DO use a fill-flash if you can’t find even shade. One way to do this right is to backlight your subject with the sun (the sun will be at your subject’s back, and their front will be in the shadow) and set your exposure for the background scene. Then, set your flash to fire so it fills in and evens out your subject. This will take some practice, but the results can be very dramatic. Fill-flashes are especially helpful for sunset portraits.

** DO bring a reflector when you photograph people. You can use it to fill in deep, hard shadows that show up on your subject’s face and even out the lighting overall. (If you’re using a gold or silver reflector, it can be extra bright, so be careful not to blind the person or people you’re photographing.)

** DO adjust your ISO. Your ISO is your digital camera’s sensitivity to light. You can change it to be more sensitive in lower-light situations or less sensitive in bright light. With the bright summer sun, you generally will have plenty of light, and you won’t need to use higher ISO's (those above 200). Be sure to always shoot with the lowest ISO possible (while still stopping action or eliminating camera shake). Not all point-and-shoots will let you change the ISO, but some will. If you’re not sure how to change it, check your camera manual.

** DO fill your photo with action, and freeze it with a fast shutter speed. When there’s plenty of available light, you don’t have to worry about using a slow shutter speed, so summertime is prime time for sports and action shots. Make sure you’re using a shutter speed that’s fast enough to catch the action… and not just a blur.

** DON’T forget to get in close. Fill the frame with your subject, while maintaining good composition.

** DO look at everything in your photo frame before you snap the shutter. Landscapes should be clear of clutter, and people should not have poles, tree branches, or other objects protruding from their heads.

Like I said before, summertime is great for fun outdoor shots. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. For more tips on taking photos this summer, check out the Summer Photo Guide, here. I edited it, so I know it’s packed full of tips like these, and also includes tips on taking stunning firework shots, outdoor portraits, wedding and event photos, family vacation shots, and more.

[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.]