Are you always disappointed with your holiday snaps?
Then why not try your hand at DSLR photography, where you have the opportunity to take more creative control of the look and feel of your photos?
To help you get started, Canon is giving away an EOS 600D DSLR camera and lens to one lucky Independent reader. You don’t have to be a pro to use a DSLR - the EOS 600D is the perfect choice for aspiring photographers looking for outstanding image quality, a range of creative shooting modes and ease-of-use.
To enter, simply enter your details in the form below.
Canon Ambassadors and acclaimed wildlife photographers Jonathan and Angela Scott have also shared some hints and tips for aspiring photographers.
Whether you’re on safari, on the beach or staying at home this summer; follow the Scott’s tips to take the perfect summer holiday photograph:
- Early morning and late evening light creates warm, highly saturated colours. In front lit situations, with the sun behind you, always try to offset your position by a few degrees to create some shadows. This models your subject and gives it form.
- Many of our favourite images are taken with the light coming from the side (side lit) or towards the camera (back lit). This will give a more creative edge to your images, enhancing mood and atmosphere. However, sometimes the camera’s meter may be fooled, causing underexposed “dark” images. To prevent this you may need to open up the aperture, and add light, to provide detail in the subject’s shadow area. The best way is to bracket: taking a number of shots, each varying by a third to half a stop of light, to ensure that you end up with an image that pleases you.
- Try to be different. Don’t choose the obvious, think about creating more abstract images. For example: take images from different angles. Getting low with your EOS 600D also allows you to get eyeball to eyeball with your subject, making it look more imposing. Always be on the lookout for dust or splashing water to add a bit of drama to a scene.
- Photography is all about learning to see with the eye of your camera, using different lenses to create interesting images. For example, when on holiday abroad, get up close to the exotic plants around you by using a macro lens. This will give you a completely different perspective of the world around you and help you see things the naked eye can’t.
- Diagonals add a powerful visual element to your composition. One easy way to do this is to tilt your EOS 600D at an angle to make the horizon run from one corner of the frame to another rather than parallel to the bottom of the frame. Another option is to try photographing a line of people by tilting the camera to make a diagonal. On safari, keep your eyes open for natural diagonals, such as lines of animals such as wildebeests and zebras walking diagonally through the landscape.
- The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is designed to avoid pictures with the horizon running through the middle of the frame. If you are taking a landscape image, decide which is the most important, the sky or the foreground, then give the more important element two thirds of the frame. This draws the eye to the most important aspect of your image. The way the ‘Rule of Thirds’ works is when two sets of vertical and horizontal lines intersect, just like a noughts and crosses pattern. The points of intersection show key places in an image, so you can position important elements of your composition.
- Don’t put your subject in the middle of the frame, offset it to the left or right, giving a sense of space for your subject to look or move into. A cheetah sitting perched on a termite mound will look more dramatic if you offset it to one side of the frame. This will give the animal, or any subject, space to look into.
- EOS 600D Auto Servo or predictive focus mode should be used to track moving subjects and capture the action in sharp focus. We love to photograph birds in flight or a big cat on the hunt. The EOS 600D Auto Servo is ideal for these situations as it will help you achieve pin sharp images. Be sure to set your camera’s settings to High Speed Burst so you get a continuous sequence of shots.
- Use your camera speed setting in a creative way. Speeds of 1/1000 sec will freeze the action of a moving subject. But using slow speeds and panning with your subject as it moves often creates a far stronger sense of speed and movement. Remember to move the Stabilizer mode on your lens to the second position if you are panning.
- When photographing sunrises and sunsets, take a meter reading of the sky without the sun in the frame or use a spot meter. Point your camera to one side of the sun and lock the exposure reading before recomposing your image to include the sun. If you meter with the sun in the picture, without compensating, the final image may be too dark. Play around with the ISO settings on your EOS 600D to experiment with lighting and get different effects with every shot.
Canon is also offering £50 cashback to anyone who buys an EOS 600D before 5 June.
Terms and conditions
The promotion closes at 23.59 on 27 May 2012. There is one prize of a Canon EOS 600D DSLR camera and an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens. The winner will be the first entry selected at random after the closing date and will be contacted during the week commencing 28 May 2012. Over-18s only. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. Promoter: Canon (UK) Ltd, Woodhatch, Reigate, RH2 8BF.
The Independent's usual competition rules apply.