Words and photos by pro photographer & Olympus Visionary, Anne Day . (source: getolympus.com)
Click images to enlarge.
TIP 1: THINK OF YOUR VACATION AS A STORY YOU WANT TO TELL
In addition to taking fun snapshots of your family, try to establish shots of where you are and what gives you a feeling for the place. I was on a vacation in France and when everyone went inside after a long day at the beach, I took a picture just to remember what the place felt like with nobody there. Nothing remained except the chairs and towels we had left there. I used the PEN E-PL1 with the M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R at ISO 200 with the pinhole art filter because I like the way it renders color.
TIP 2: DON’T BE AFRAID OF LOW LIGHT
I shot this picture using the PEN E-PL3, ISO 400, 1/8 sec, f/9 – with the on camera flash. Dark night and fire are difficult to photograph but I wanted to illuminate the girls’ faces a bit more than what the fire was allowing for. By using a slow shutter speed, I was also able to capture the boats and water in the background. The show shutter speed also captured the shadows of the flames on each of their faces. Overall, I like the naturalness and spontaneity of this image.
TIP 3: ISO AND SHUTTER SPEED ARE IMPORTANT
Fireworks pictures can be boring but if you shoot at a slow shutter speed you are able to capture some ambient light. An exploding firework in a black sky picture with nothing else in the photograph is not interesting. If you have foreground and some color in the sky, the photo opportunity gets more interesting and using a slow shutter speed is the best way to enhance the picture. In this case, it was so dark that I also needed an ISO of 1600. The slow shutter speed also enabled me to capture the wind blowing the sparks, which gave some movement to the image.
TIP 4: THE BEST PORTRAIT ISN’T ALWAYS A SMILEY ONE
I caught my neighbor on a summer afternoon in a pensive moment behind the screen door. I used the Pinhole filter on the OM-D E-M1, M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens, 1/80 at f/3.2 to let me concentrate on her face as opposed to the background.
TIP 5: SMILING PHOTOS CAN ALSO BE GOOD
I know I just said that a portrait doesn’t always have to include a smile, but sometimes it is what makes the picture. This little boy had just caught a crab and his smile tells the whole story. And somehow, the crab shape and his smile are the same! I shot this with the OM-D E-M1, M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens ISO 200, 1/250 second at f/5.6. I wanted to see the background but didn’t want it to be so sharp as to fight with the main subject.
TIP 6: EXTRAORDINARY PICTURES CAN BE MADE IN ORDINARY SITUATIONS
This scene is a place I have driven by dozens of times and honestly, it’s rarely interesting. But when a storm was blowing and the light was crazy, I illuminated just that part of the hill where the barn is. I shot this from my car. Take advantage of the amazing light you can get in a storm. This was shot with my OM-D EM-1, M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO, ISO 400, 1/80 sec., f/6.3.
TIP 7: CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAMERA
This picture was shot with the TOUGH TG-3, which is shockproof and waterproof. I was in the water with this girl and she came up from a dive. Because I had the TOUGH I was able to capture the image without any fear of getting the camera wet. I usually always have it with me there because there is no other way to capture the excitement and movement of being underwater.
TIP 8: TRY TO FIND THE MOON IN GOOD LIGHT
I tend to get bored by sunsets but every once in a while, I get a shot of the moon that I love. This was last summer’s super moon. If you expose for the moon your foreground will go dark. If you expose for the landscape then the moon will turn into a white hole. The OM-D E-M1 has a double exposure mode so you can take two shots and blend them together. Or, you can do what I did and take two separate images and blend them together later in your processing software. Either way, your moonscape is much nicer if both the landscape and the moon are properly exposed.
TIP 9: ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CAMERA WITH YOU
The best camera is the one in your hand when something amazing is happening. I captured this picture of my son on vacation at a lake as the light was perfect. Without a camera though, I would not have been able to capture the moment.
ABOUT ANNE DAY
Olympus Visionary Anne Day is a veteran photojournalist, portrait, wedding and architecture photographer and writer based in New York City and Connecticut, but she will tell you her favorite subjects are her family members. Her well-respected work has appeared in TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fortune, Vogue and other publications.