Holiday photos: 8 clever tips, tricks and trends

Want to remove an unwanted interloper, turn your travel photography into art or make them 3D? Here’s how…

There are countless tools for improving your pictures, storing them, sharing them and even turning them into works of art. Here’s some ideas for starters – if you’ve some some tips, tricks or you know a good photo website, tell us about it using the comment form below.

Photoshop

Getting a good holiday snap doesn’t stop at the click of the shutter – if the light, angle, or even subject isn’t right, you can rescue your photo with some editing trickery.

Search for Photoshop tips online and there are countless sites offering advice. The photography tips range from simple and effective tips for beginners to more complex techniques.

Once you’ve learnt the basics, you can pick up tips like how to make a map or photo look vintage, how to straighten a crooked photo, or even how to remove unwanted people from your picture. There’s a good archive of Photoshop tips on the www.dobadob.com blog.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be Photoshop. In the same way that Google has become almost synonymous with “search engine”, PhotoShop has become the generic term for computer photo editing, but there are alternatives – Apple’s Aperture competes fiercely with Lightroom, another Adobe program, to be the photographer’s software programme of choice.

There are plenty of free software programmes too. Google’s Picasahas cropping, colour, contrast and red eye tools, and the software provided with your camera will do basic editing – just make sure you update it regularly – most camera manufacturers offer free upgrades on their website.

Flickr

With the advent of digital photography and camera functions on phones, we’re snowed under with photos that never make it off the computer, never mind the camera card. While your walls will never have room for every holiday photo you come home with, it’s a shame to leave them locked on your hard drive where no-one can see them.

Loading your pictures onto a photo sharing site like Flickr means you can share them with friends, or make them accessible to anyone who’d like to enjoy them.

The are, of course, numerous alternative photo sharing sites including the afore-mentioned Picasa and Shutterfly (Wikipedia even has a list of them), and social networking sites like Facebook take images, but the advantage Flickr has over Facebook is that photos can be downloaded from the site in high resolution, they can be tagged by subject, not just user, and viewed in full screen.

It’s free to register, but the storage capacity is limited if you don’t pay an annual subscription of around £20 a year. Flickr’s “how to get the most out of…” online tutorial is a great start for beginners, with tips on uploading directly from a cameraphone, labelling photos and creating groups.

There’s also Flickr tools, which can speed-up the uploading process (otherwise you’re best off leaving it uploading overnight). In addition to that, Flickr junkies might like to download some of the countless unofficial Flickr tools and widgits that offer clever tricks to search, upload and re-use images.

Geotagging

If you take pictures with a modern cameraphone or digital camera, your pictures may already be geotagged, or geocoded. It means that a precise location, using latutude and longitude co-ordinates, are assigned to that picture so it can be precisely searched for or plotted on a map.

You can also enter the geocoding information manually into a photo, although a certain level of computer know-how is required. There’s a good explanation of it on Wikipedia’s Geocoded photograph entry.

There’s some good examples of maps that have been created using geocoded photos at MapWith.Us and there’s more on Flickr maps – up to three million geotagged photos are being uploaded to the site every month.

Photosynth

This relatively nascent Microsoft software is still only being used by a small number of tech-savvie photographers, but don’t let that put you off. Photosynth allows you to create three-dimensional visualisations using digital photographs – you take a bunch of pictures of one view/object and this software creates an interactive montage.

It’s similar to the photo stitch/merge function that you get on many cameras and software programmes to stitch together a series of adjoining photos (see my effort here using a Nikon D80 and Apple laptop) – but Photosynth adds an extra dimension.

The pictures don’t look very clever at first viewing, but click around and you can get inside a landscape or view from all sorts of angles.

You can see examples of Microsoft’s work, dubbed Photo Tourism, on its site. The most viewed Synth is of Obama’s inauguration but other popular ones include National Geographic’s Taj Mahal and Prague Old Town Square. You don’t need hundreds of photos of your own to create a Synth – you can use other people’s images from a photo sharing site.

Panoramio

Google’s site dedicated to geocoded photos features millions of images that can be searched by location. Panoramio works seamlessly with Google Earth and Google Maps, as you would expect.

To see the pictures, activate the “Geographic web” layer on the lefthand sidebar in Google Earth.

You don’t need to know latitude and longitude – you can place the image on a map if you don’t have the co-ordinates. The Panoramio team then pick which images to load onto Google Earth.

Rasterbating

This is a bit of fun – upload an image to this site http://homokaasu.org/rasterbator and it will produce a huge rasterized version. That means your image will be enlarged and displayed in a pixelated form – made up of millions of dots, like this one.

The software on this site is free – you just upload a photo, choose the size of the image and the crop, then it is converted into a pdf made up of multiple sheets of paper. You then print it out and join the pieces together to create a huge image.

Lomography

Described as “analogue photography”, Lomography is a brand name, a community and a photography technique whose motto is “don’t think, just shoot”. It was developed by Lomographische AG, an Austrian company, in the 1980s.

The photos are a certain style – leaking light, grainy and with heavily saturated and contrasting colour, and theoretically abide by ten golden rules. The lomography.com site was relaunched this year and Lomo “Fisheye” style cameras, launched in 2005, are now on sale on the high street, plus there’s even a Lomography shop in New York.

There are countless mini-sites for enthusiasts , over 3,000 lomography groups on Flickr , a Twitter feed and even an anti-lomography movement of purist film photographers who think Photoshop is abhorrent.

Photobombing

Posing with your loved one in the foreground of the Eiffel Tour when a cheeky interloper leaps into shot? You’ve just been “photobombed”.

The practice of ruining other people’s photos is apparently catching on – examples are abundant at www.photobomb.net or the more risqu? www.photobombing.net.

Pictures include posed shots that have been interrupted by blue-faced smurf-bombers or in a few incidences, a bare-bum-bomber.

A rather more considered piece of photo trickery that has an equally cheeky take on holiday snaps is Michael Hughes’ collection of images that place tacky souvenirs next to, or superimposed on their likeness. We featured a gallery of his images on Times Online.

Hughes’ wry take on holiday snaps is reminiscent of Martin Parr’s style – forget air-brushed bikini shots and sunsets over beaches – Parr’s holiday snaps celebrate the more pedestrian side of the British holiday.

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