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APRIL 21, 2009:    The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), the world’s largest organization of professional travel journalists and photographers, recently polled its members to come up with the “Top 10” tips to help travelers take better vacation photos. 

            “With digital cameras, it has never been easier or cheaper to take top quality vacation photos,” states SATW president and broadcast travel journalist, Bea Broda.  “However, there are still some things that travelers can do to help them come back with stunning images of their vacation,” she said.

  Listed in order of votes with comments from SATW writers and photographers, the “Top 10” tips for better travel photos are:


1.      Shoot photos early in the morning and late in the afternoon.  Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the sun is overhead and the light is flat.  Shooting in early morning and late afternoon will add more color and shadows to your photos, giving more definition to the subject.


“Although morning and late afternoon are considered the best light for making photographs, some exceptions apply.  In the Caribbean, for instance, to capture the water at its most electric aquamarine, shoot the seascape from on high, preferably at noon.”-- Patricia Borns, maritime and travel writer/photographer


2.      Move in close to your subject for impact (too far back and your photo can be too busy).  Get close, and then get closer!  Fill the frame with your subject.


“Use your camera to record details you would like to remember later such as street signs, place names and menus.” -- Shelly Steig, freelance writer and photographer


3.      Don’t shoot every photo at eyelevel. Don’t be afraid to get low to the ground or climb up to get a better vantage point.


“Shooting a scene at other than eyelevel can add drama or perspective to an otherwise static setting.  Even if you can’t peer through the lens, hold your camera overhead or at waist level and experiment.”-- David Swanson, freelance travel writer/photographer


Carry a rubber mouse pad in your camera bag.  It will make it easier on your knees and clothing whenever you kneel down for a low camera angle.” -- Michele & Tom Grimm, photographers and authors


4.      Pay attention to details and distractions in the back of the photo or behind the heads of your subjects.  Frequently, a telephone pole or tree is sticking up behind your subject.  Move around until there are fewer distractions in the background.


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