Photography competition: Can you take the snap of the summer?
You could win a Panasonic Lumix GX800 Mirrorless camera in our Summer Pix 18 competition in association with Harvey Norman
Anything can be the subject of a good summer photograph. photograph: Alan Betson
Summer Pix: catching a perfect moment in time. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The combination of horizontal and vertical in this St Stephens Green, Dublin, shot works very well. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Sharp focus and strong emotion make a great photo. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
Silhouettes can jump out of the shot, especially if the sun is strong. Photograph: Dara Mac D Anything can be the subject of a good summer photograph. photograph: alan betson ónaill
Summer sunlight brings beautiful colours, atmospheric skies and beautiful landscapes, but it also brings challenges: harsh shadows under the eyes, squinting, endless, samey sunsets. Generally the most beautiful summer light is to be found early morning and late evening, during the hour after sunrise and before sunset. At other times of the day, the best light is to be found in the shadows, especially if the sun is beating down on a nearby wall, reflecting a soft glow into the nearby shadows. Shooting into the light is generally the most interesting but beware lens flare.
I am slow to pick up a camera outside work hours, but my wife and children do a mighty job with an iPhone and family compact camera. I advise them to take loads of photos and try to improve on each shot.
Move into the best location to get the best composition; this could be up high or down low.
The importance of background cannot be overstated: a high-vis jacket has ruined many a good photograph.
Photography should be fun, so I tend to work swiftly with people, especially kids.
Many people do not like getting their photo taken, so the odd quip or bit of banter goes a long way. Always be positive with the people you are photographing – everybody loves a compliment – and this will be reflected back into your lens.
Summer Pix 2018: Enter your photographs here
Smartphones have revolutionised photography, but they come with limitations. Don’t try to zoom, as they will just pixelate. Crop the photo later if you must. Check out the panoramic function for something different. Generally smartphone flash tends to be poor, so go with the good low-light capabilities but steady your arms on a hard surface or lock your elbows into your body to avoid camera shake and the dreaded blur.
Explore the exciting world of GoPro with underwater housings and wide-angle lenses. The time lapse can be stunning.
Compact cameras have taken a bashing from the smartphone, but they are the next step up on the road to a DSLR. They offer optical zoom, which creates really nice portraits.
For those with DSLR cameras, wrestle back control of your photography from the many modes. Keep it simple. Outdoors, choose either the shutter speed or the aperture and let the camera choose the other. Master the camera’s depth of field; head towards F4 or 2.8 to get the subject sharp and the background way out of focus. Indoors, if there is not enough light, switch back to manual, bouncing the flash off a ceiling or wall behind you to get a softer light. Keeping the shutter speed around 60th sec and lens aperture around F5.6 generally will give the best results.
Sunsets we are a little bored with, but if you can work the silhouette of something interesting into the foreground – such as kids jumping into the sea – they can be amazing.
What makes good photographs? Simplicity, composition, timing, lighting, and emotion. The best photos will have some or all of these.
Most importantly, enjoy your photography and have fun.
HOW TO ENTER
To upload your high-resolution images, click HERE
The prize is a Panasonic Lumix GX800 Mirrorless Camera, courtesy of Harvey Norman. Each Tuesday we will display the best photos of the week, and on the August 21st, we’ll print the winning photograph in The Irish Times. Photos must be taken in summer 2018 and can be taken with any kind of camera or smartphone.
We cannot respond to each entry, but will be in touch if your photograph is going to be published. Competition closes on Tuesday August 14th. Happy snapping.