Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

When to take your holiday photos and how to combat red eye

When to take your holiday photos and how to combat red eye - Steve Davey and David Taylor are professional travel photographers who have a spot of advice for you.

 Add Comment

Landscape and Travel

Both photographers agree that the best times for taking photographs is during the well-known golden hours (just after sunrise and just before sunset). But when you're on your holidays, getting up really early to take a picture of your kids just because the light is good isn't something everyone will want to be doing. Many will want to take pictures when they're sat round the pool when the sun is at it's highest.
Taj Mahal by Steve Davey
 Photograph by Steve Davey: Shooting in the golden hour just after sunrise and just before sunset, can give warm evocative images, as can be seen in this shot of the Taj Mahal.
Creating portraits during the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest can be difficult,” explained David. “The temptation is to shoot with the sun behind the camera, so that the subject of the photo is fully lit. However, this approach can lead to the subject needing to squint and pull faces, which isn’t particularly attractive – though could be useful for blackmail purposes! In situations like this, try moving the subject into shade or shooting with the sun to one side or even behind the subject. If the sun is behind the subject, it’s worth using just a tiny amount of flash so that he or she is correctly exposed against the bright background.”
You can also shoot landscapes when the light isn't perfect. If it's cloudy and overcast, Steve suggests you shoot more close ups than long shots, as you will conceal the fact that the light isn't very good. If the light is very overcast and hazy, then shooting into the light can give more interesting shots.
If you're shooting portraits, then either make sure your subject is completely in shadow and adjust the white balance and the exposure, or use fill-in flash to lighten the shadows,” added Steve. “Even the simplest camera with a built in flash will have a mode where you can switch this feature on. When the weather is spectacularly bad, you have the opportunity to take striking pictures of overcast skies and stormy conditions.
Machu Picchu by Steve Davey
 Photograph by Steve Davey: Although it was stormy and overcast, I persisted with heading up to Machu Picchu and was rewarded by a few seconds of the sun shining out from behind a cloud. This has produced a more interesting and unique image.
If you do get up early to take your pictures, Steve says to remember that the light can be too yellow for some subjects. But if you shoot in the couple of hours after the morning golden hour and before the evening golden hour then the light is still soft and directional but not as extreme, so your pictures won't be too yellow.
Your pictures wont be spoiled by hordes of ice cream-eating tourists either,” said David. “And by midday, when the sun is high and the light is less flattering, there’s no need to feel guilty for spending a few hours next to the pool.
If you're spending so much time on getting the light right, remember that direct camera flash can look too harsh. If it's possible, David suggests you should take the flash off the camera or bounce the light off a convenient ceiling or wall as this can help to create a much softer and more natural looking lighting source. In low light, consider just using the available ambient light as David explains: “Either open the camera lens to its widest aperture if hand holding the camera (which works well for portraits as long as the eyes are in focus) or use a tripod or other support such as a low wall. A lot of cameras now have built in image stabilisation, which can be very useful in low light situations too.
photo of a lady in Cuba by David Taylor
 Photograph by David Taylor: A portrait taken in Cuba of a local resident.
Red eye is another problem which plagues many holiday portrait shots. It's caused by flashlight bouncing off the inside of the eye, straight out of the iris and back toward the camera, picking up the colour of the blood vessels that line the retina. According to David, many cameras have an anti-red eye mode that fires a burst of flash just before a shot is taken. This causes the iris in the eye of the subject to contract and so reduce the amount of light that bounces back out.
The one problem with this particular technique is that it can be quite irritating for the person having their portrait captured,” explained David. “One way to reduce red eye is to either have the flash off the camera (either on a cord or remotely fired) or to use bounced flash if possible. Another technique is to shoot portraits in which the subject is not looking directly at the camera (and therefore the flash), but is perhaps looking at something of interest within the immediate surroundings. This more indirect approach can add ‘narrative’ interest to an image too.
Often though, the simplest solution is to just shoot with the flash and then correct the red eye in post production. This is a very simple and quick process,” added Steve.
In Part three, David and Steve tackle candids and framing.
For more information about David Taylor and his travel work visit his website: David Taylor.

Steve Davey's most recent book and range of travel photography tours can be found on his website: Steve Davey.
Join ePHOTOzine and remove these ads.

Explore More


cbridget 10 43 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2009 10:54AM
Some great tips! I enjoyed reading this ☆

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

cbridget 10 43 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2009 2:08PM
Some great tips! I enjoyed reading this ☆

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.