You might think it would be strange to ask an international aid photographer about the best way to take those family holiday photos, but Philip Maher, communications director at Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, has travelled to 80 countries in his lifetime while taking pictures in every conceivable environment. Maher is a professional photographer and a father of two. He offers these simple tips to improve those summer vacation photos:

Don’t shoot into the light
This is the most common mistake of holiday photos. Ensure the source of light (usually the sun) is behind you.

Hold the camera steady
With digital cameras, there is a tendency to hold the camera a foot from your eye. This blurs your images.

For spectacular images, avoid noon-hour shots
You’ll end up with ugly, harsh shadows. Use morning or late-afternoon light or avoid shadows altogether by taking pictures on overcast days.


Do you ever wonder what to focus on?
It’s the eyes Don’t worry about the rest of the face.

Don’t be afraid to rearrange your subjects
Squish your kids’ faces together or ask dad to place his arm around his daughter.

Take your family photos quickly
Kids can be squirmy and they hate it when mom or dad pull out the camera and take 10 minutes (an eternity in kid time) to set up and make the shot.

Be patient and wait for action
Having the camera at the ready captures those spectacular action images which your children will remember into adulthood. Isn’t creating family memories the point of the entire exercise?

Remember to take lots of photos
Fortunately with digital cameras, you can snap and delete bad shots as opposed to spending a lot of money processing film.

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