Want to improve your picture taking? One way is buy all those 200 paged books of photos and techniques. 
In those books they tell you all about  the mechanical aspects such as setting your shutter speed, F-Stops lighting, 
what camera to buy etc. Yes, that's important. If you Google "How to take great pictures" you get much the same thing.
Yes, eventually you get to lots of examples with some explanations etc, but no one seems to touch on the "Art". 
Personally, no matter what price range of equipment you use, no matter what mechanical settings you're good at setting
.... Great photography really boils down to 4 or 5 basic “concepts”.

If you ever wondered why “what you saw” isn’t what you ended up with in your camera when you got home….
Follow these simple principals to turn your next Vacation Photos into lots of Professional Quality Shots  

 If you want more than just "Snapshots", then read on......


     On Scenics, always look for foregrounds to frame the picture.
     Rocks or Walls, Overhanging tree limbs or Bushes and foliage work great.
     We all have a tendency to think all that is “clutter”, and focus it out….
             but it’s really the most important part of the photo.
     When I shoot scenics, the first thing I look for is trees and bushes. 
     I rarely try to '' stand out in the open'', even in the middle of a city.
     I'd bet you even in Downtown New York City you can find a tree branch to shoot from under!
     I’ve even been known to  hold a tree branch over the camera view to enhance a picture.  



     Looks for something in the foreground or on the sides to force the viewer into the picture
     Even a railing on a ship is better than the wide open ocean  



     Try not to shoot "head on". Angle your shot. Look for winding streets, walking paths,
     streams of water to draw in your viewer to a receding point "inside" your picture.
     Many times stepping just a few feet in either direction can make the difference between a great and a "ho-hum" shot.  




    When you draw tic-tac-toe lines you notice that there are 4 points of intersection
    Placing your subject into one of these four points will assist the eye to follow a natural 
    flow of direction to your point of interest.
               When reading, our eye naturally reads from left to right and from top to bottom. 
               When viewing pictures the eye naturally travels from left to right
                      Guess which of the 4 points is the "best target". 


                                 ( Did you pick Top Right ? )  


       Lining everyone up and saying "say cheese" may be necessary for a quick record shot of a group of people (for posterity),
       but take it to the next level. Try shooting "Candids". 




            With a little practice you will find you begin to intuitively use these
            simple principles to create some really great Vacation Shots.

          Take a look at our Vacation Pictures of Ireland     

          COMMENTS ?  -  Email me at

Disclaimer: All these examples were shot "on the fly" while on our last Vacation in Ireland. Some were even shot from a moving bus.
I am not a professional photographer by any "stretch",  But I follow these 5 simple principles all the time

I do use a good DSLR camera and all pictures above were taken with an  "entry level" (Under $500.00) 
Canon T3 Rebel with a 18-250 Zoom Lens. Or - about the equivalent cost of a good Smart Phone.


Happy Shooting  

Jim Springer

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