Snap happy: Can you take the photo of the summer?

Seize the moment – and capture it – and you could win this Canon DSLR camera in our Summer Pix 16 competition in association with Harvey Norman


The Irish Times Summer Pix 16 competition in association with Harvey Norman

How to enter: we want your best photographs of the summer. Send high-resolution images to to be in with a chance of winning our top prize, a Canon EOS 100D Digital SLR Camera (RRP €549). Each Friday, we’ll display the best photos sent in that week, and at the end of August we’ll print the winning photograph. The photos must be taken in summer 2016. They can be taken with any kind of camera or phone. We regret we cannot respond to each entry, but we will be in touch if your photograph is going to be published. Happy snapping.

Top tips

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.

Smartphones have revolutionised photography, but they come with limitations. Don’t try and 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.

Terms & conditions

1.The promoter is The Irish Times Limited, The Irish Times Building, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2. 

2.Employees or agents of The Irish Times and their families or other persons connected with this promotion are not eligible to enter.

3.Entry is restricted to people aged18 years and over. 

4.5 photographs may be submitted by any individual person.

5.All entries must include a valid email address.

6.All entries must be sent to

7.The Judges’ decision is final and binding in all matters and no correspondence will be entered into.

8.The promoter is excluded from liability for any loss, damage or injury which might occur to the winner arising from his or her acceptance of the prize. 

9.By entering the promotion and submitting your photograph, you hereby grant The Irish Times a license to use your photograph for the purpose of promoting the competition within the newspaper and online in printed and electronic formats. The Irish Times may also use the photograph for the promotion of any photographic competition with The Irish Times in both print and online. 

10.All imagery MUST be the total and exclusive work of the submitting photographer and may not include any element that is the copyright of another. 

11.The entrant will indemnify the Promoter for all liabilities, including legal costs, in relation to any action or complaint taken by any third party against the Promoter in relation to the entrant’s photograph.

12.Photographers may make reasonable use of digital darkroom type techniques which enhance quality but do not distort the photograph. Only minor burning, dodging and/or colour correction is acceptable, as is cropping. High dynamic range images (HDR) and stitched panoramas are NOT acceptable. Any changes to the original Photograph not itemized here are unacceptable and will render the Photograph ineligible for a prize - the open, and source categories are exempt from this rule.

13.Entry to this competition shall be deemed full and unconditional acceptance of the terms & conditions.

14.The promoter reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions.

15.These Terms and Conditions shall be governed by the laws of Ireland and subject to the jurisdiction of the Irish Courts.

16.When a photograph is submitted and entry finalised the entry cannot be changed or edited.

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