Making the best of a situation

When we travel we all like to take pictures to capture the memories of the trip. It’s always preferable to find or wait for the best light of the day. That usually means the quality of light that one finds early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Sunlight at those times usually has a warm beautiful quality and comes in at a pleasing angle. It can enhance nearly every kind of photo from portraits to architecture to landscapes.

However, our schedules or itineraries may not allow us to shoot during the optimal time of day. In those cases you just have to do the best that you can but there are some things that you can do to increase your chances for a creative photo.

We all take pictures of our traveling companions but what if you only have time to photograph them during midday. The light tends create harsh, unflattering shadows. One way to alleviate that is to find some open shade. The light under a tree or in the shadow of a tall building can be even and pleasing for a portrait.

If you can’t find shady spot, try turning your subject away from the sun and photograph on their shaded side. While not optimum, this will keep the harshness to a minimum and help keep the subject from squinting in the sun

Say you want to photograph a family member or traveling partner in front of a famous landmark and the only angle you can get is one where the only light is bad. If you can’t come back when the light is better, then try creating some of your own. Fill-flash is a technique of using the camera’s flash during the daylight to fill in harsh shadows.

Perhaps you’re in a historic village, a quaint township or a scenic park and the lighting is uninspired. Rather than trying get an overall scene try looking for a detail or a close up of some aspect of the scene which can be less light-dependent for an interesting photo. A flower or and interesting architectural detail can be just as valid as a scene setting picture.

Interesting angles or framing can also help create compelling picture. By shooting with a wide angle lens up from the base of a tall building can make the dramatic angles of the structure converge into a vanishing point at top of the frame. Using other buildings or trees to create a frame in the foreground can also be another successful technique. You can even photograph one building or scene off the reflective windows or surface of another building.

If the weather is overcast and gray, color can be very eye-catching. Look for a something bright color to serve as a focal point in an otherwise bland scene.

Shooting when the light is best should be one of the most important factors in any photo. Unfortunately we don’t always have the opportunity to shoot during those times. However there are techniques that can help you make the best of what you’re dealt with.

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