by Tim Farmer
Summer time is right around the corner, it is time to get ready to have fun and capture the memories. Here are a few tips for capturing better images and gear to keep on hand to protect and keep your camera working.
When you are at the beach it is easy to over expose your photos. All the sun light can confuse your cameras built in meter. If you are shooting with a manual camera or in manual mode, you will probably need to adjust your setting because your camera will try to make everything grey.
You can use your exposure compensation button and set it to -1 or -2 to adjust your meter readings. This will give you richer colors and better contrast.
If your camera does not have a manual mode us the scene mode. Turn to scene mode then pick the scene that works best. Take these steps to make sure your summer beach fun is captures in living color by making sure your images are properly exposed.
When taking a photo in bright sun light, mostly of a person, you may consider using your flash. The sun is so bright that it causes dark shadows, mostly on people’s faces. By simply turning on your flash you can lighten these shadows up and see the persons eyes. We call this fill flash.
You may need to do a little work to get the “perfect” natural look when using fill flash. Most flashes and some cameras today have TTL flash exposure compensation. By adjusting this, you are controlling the amount of light the flash is putting out.
How much you will need to adjust the flash output using TTL will depend on a few factors. The distance to your subject is one of these factors so if you are within a few feet of your model you may want to try a -1. If your subject is father away you may need to use more power like a +1 or +2.
Using the flash as a fill flash will also help you get a beautiful sunset portrait. Have your model with their back to the sunset and between you and the sun. Then use the flash to add light to them. This will allow both your model and the setting sun/sky have the same exposure and look great.
For both the bright sunny day and the sunsets shots I would recommend doing a few test shots to make sure everything looks great.
When you are outside during the summer you want to keep your camera dry and if you’re at the beach or anyplace dusty, you will want to keep it clean. I always carry a rain sleeve and lens pen in my camera bag. You can pick up a set of three sleeve that come in different sizes to match your camera. They are small and inexpensive and can save you a big repair bill. The pen has a built-in brush and tool to clean your lens. I use the brush over my whole camera after a day at the beach so sand does not get into the working parts.
One last safety tip. Keep your camera cool. It may seem obvious, but the summer sunlight is hot and your camera does not like it. So, store your camera in a cool place. Don’t keep it locked in your car or sitting in the direct sunlight for too long.
Here are some useful products for a better summertime photo experience.
Rain sleeves – in case you are caught out in the rain or the pool
Lens Pen and or cloth – to keep the lens clean
Cool straps – a nice wide strap to keep the weight off
Extra batteries – so you don’t miss the moment
Wireless trigger for group shots – so you can be in the shot