Heading To The Beach?
A popular destination when on your travels abroad or even just for the weekend when the sun's showing its face in the UK is the beach which is full of photographic potential. Even though you may enjoy yourself by the sea it's not a place that's great for your camera and other photography gear. Grains of sand can get into parts of your camera it shouldn't be in and it can scratch your lens if you're not careful. A UV filter will help stop sand scratching your lens and is a less expensive option than replacing your glass. When you're not using your kit, make sure you store it in your camera bag and if you want to change lenses, try and do it off the beach and out of the wind.
If you're planning on taking a tripod and use it in the sea, make sure you wipe it down when you get home and leave it to dry. A lens cloth can also be handy for wiping sea spray off your gear.
If you're venturing somewhere that's going to be particularly hot then make sure your camera equipment (memory cards, batteries etc.) will operate to the best of their ability still. You can usually find information on operational limits of specific products on manufacturers' websites and in manuals.
Going Inside And Out
An air-conditioned room or vehicle may be good for you to cool down in but if you have your camera out and take it from a cool to warm environment you'll end up with a fogged up lens as condensation will have formed. Either ensure your gear's in your bag or just wait five or ten minutes for the lens to clear. You can wipe the lens with a lens cloth, but this could cause smears and marks that'll spoil your shot so look at your lens carefully before hitting the shutter button. If moisture gets inside your lens, ensure the outside of it is dry then leave the lens to dry out before using it.
Think About You
As well as looking after your gear, don't forget to look after yourself. It may seem obvious now, but it's easy to get away with taking photos and the small things such as reapplying sunscreen and having a drink of water can be forgotten.
Previewing your shot on your camera's LCD screen can be difficult when outdoors in sunny conditions. You can adjust the brightness of most screens, but this doesn't always solve the problem. You can use LCD hoods (flip up caps) that shade screens from glare and as an additional benefit, they also protect the screen too.
Avoid Hot Parts Of The Day
Again, seems obvious and it's not always easy to do as you could be on an organised excursion, for example. However, getting up early or staying out later does have it's advantages as the light's usually better and you'll be able to avoid crowds at busy tourist sites. Don't forget your lens hood if you're heading out during the day as they can help reduce the amount of light reaching your lens.
Find Some Shade
Ideally you should not take photographs when the sun is too high in the sky, particularly for portraits as people can end up with deep shadows under their eyes and nose. If your subject's wearing a floppy hat this will shade the face, and help create the shade you need. If not, find a shaded area that won't cause the light to appear dappled. Instead, find a shaded spot where the light's more even and they won't end up squinting.
If you're photographing a family member or a stranger who's given you permission to shoot, you can try using flash to add extra light that'll even out your scene. A touch of flash will also help create catchlights in your subject's eyes but it's much easier to just position your subject so they're facing the light source and / or use a reflector to bounce the light into your shot.
You've read the technique now share your related photos for the chance to win prizes: Photo Month Forum Competition