How to make the most of your compact camera on holiday

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How to make the most of your compact camera on holiday

Whether you're escaping to a tropical beach, ski resort or sprawling metropolis, in fact, no matter where your next holiday adventure takes you - it's good to know which camera features will come in handy for capturing beautiful shots of different settings.

The Underwater setting will help you to capture the ocean scene as you see it.


If you're headed to a coastal town or tropical island, you will no doubt be tempted to take as many photos as possible to savour the beauty of your destination. On a bright and sunny day, choose a Daylight settingi to adjust the brightness of your image, especially at the beach where the sun gets reflected by the water and the white sandii.

If you're equipped with an underwater camera housing, and want to embrace the ocean from down below, a camera that has an Underwater settingiii will help capture better images. Underwater, blue-green colours dominate as the longer wavelengths of sunlight get absorbed by the water quickly. An Underwater camera setting can help to bring out warm and vibrant colours such as red and orange. Try focussing your shot upwards to create dramatic silhouettes and to capture the scene as you see itiv.


Low-light photography can capture those still, silent moments in the dark, from starry night skies over the warm sands of a tropical beach to quiet country campgrounds. When trying to capture those nightscapes, you'll need a high ISO (the sensitivity of the sensor to light), a wide aperture (low F number) and slow shutter speedv,vi. If your camera has a night mode - or star mode like the Canon PowerShot G16vii - make the most of it by shooting a dark night sky to capture star trails and starlit nightsviii. Fireworks are also easy to shoot with the right mode. Select Fireworks modeiii, pick an unobstructed view of the fireworks and use a tripod to steady your cameraix.


From food markets, to soaring skyscrapers, busy intersections and quiet backstreets: the chaos and charm of a city can be depicted easily at the right times. A great time to go hunting for the perfect shot in an urban jungle is in the early morningx, when people are just starting their day. Bathed in beautiful morning light, you can find serene and empty scenes looking their most photogenic. If you want to capture the hubbub and commotion of a city, wait until late morning or lunch time. Alternatively, hang back until afternoon, when the light is most forgiving, to experience noisy traffic jams and the hustle and bustle of crowds rushing to get home.

At night, head to a harbour, river or lake to get snaps of the skyline. The lights of the buildings will reflect off the water to create a shimmering landscape. A slow shutter speed can help smooth out the reflections on the water and create a more harmonious imagevi.

 Don't be afraid to hold down the shutter to capture high action scenes or fleeting moments.

Action shots

For fast-paced movement and exciting scenes, there are various camera settings you can use on your camera. Adjusting the shutter speed can help your camera capture a highly detailed action shot, for example, a surfer among the waves or a snowboarder heading down a run. Burst mode can be ideal for taking high action shots because it can take moment-by-moment photos: don't be afraid to hold down the shutter - you can always delete the unwanted photos laterxi!

For photos taken in the snow, check if your camera has a Snow settingiii and adjust the White Balance according to your surroundings. For example, on a sunny day with blue skies in the snow, you could use the Canon PowerShot G16's "Cloudy /Shade"i white balance setting. This will prevent the snow from showing up with a blue tint and will warm-up the other colours in the imagexii. While you're at it, don't forget that you can capture all the action using the movie setting on your camera!

Happy snaps: "Say cheeeeeeeese!"

Regardless of whether your next vacation takes you to the beach or to an exciting new city, if you're travelling with friends, your partner or entire family, they'll probably make it into your photos and vice versa. We all know a photo can be ruined if someone is pulling a face, looking away or blinking - even in the most idyllic surroundings! Many cameras feature a face-finderxiii, which is able to automatically adjust both the focus and the exposurexiv for faces in the shot. This feature can help you quickly and effectively take portraits and immediately check that no one is blinking or making a face.

Similarly, red eye reduction is another feature that can be used to minimise the need for editing photos later. Otherwise, since red eye is likely to occur in low-light situations, try to increase the lighting in the room to prevent it. If you want to be part of the photo, you can set the self-timer on so that you can get in the shot. This is great for group photos at tourist sites.

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iPowerShot G16 Camera User Guide, Colour and Continuous Shooting, viewed 9 May 2014,
href=", p 74

iiCanon, White balance (WB) , viewed 17 April 2014,

iiiPowerShot G16 Camera User Guide, Specific Scenes, viewed 9 May 2014,
href=", p 52-53

ivCanon, Underwater Photography, viewed 17 April 2014,

vDavenport, J, 'How to Photography the Stars', Digital Photography School, viewed 29 April 2014,

viCanon, Low Light Photography tutorial, viewed 29 April 2014,

viiPowerShot G16 Camera User Guide, Shooting Starry Skies (Star) , viewed 9 May 2014,
href=", p 62-64

viiiAtkins, B 2013, 'Canon Powershot G16 Review',, viewed 17 April 2014,

ixWinston, R 2013, 'Quick Tips: Photographing Fireworks', Canon, viewed 17 April 2014,

xBBC Travel 2011, Taking great travel pictures, viewed 29 April 2014,

xiSeaman, A 2012, 'Your Guide to Stunning Surf Photography', tuts+, viewed 29 April 2014,

xiiCanon 2013, Quick Tip: Photographing Snow, viewed 14 May 2014,

xiiiPowerShot G16 Camera User Guide, Special Modes for Other Purposes, viewed 9 May 2014,, p 60

xivJohnson, J 2009, 'Digital Camera Face Recognition: How It Works', Popular Mechanics, viewed 17 April 2014,

xvCanon, Flash: Red-eye, viewed 17 April 2014,