Photo Tips from a National Geographic Photographer Photo Tips from a National Geographic Photographer

In celebration of ACE™ Brand’s 100th anniversary and National Get Outdoors Month, the brand has teamed up with National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey to inspire outdoor family travel. Huey shared his tips for getting the perfect shot on your next vacation, whether it's a family portrait or that ultimate landscape shot. When asked what he thinks is the best camera, Huey responded: “The best camera is the one you’ve got.” He encourages families to start with what they have to learn about photo composition, and his tips can be used whether you're using a professional camera or just your handy-dandy phone camera.

National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey

Avoid using flash

Light is one of the most important aspects to consider when creating a photograph. Natural light is the best environment to shoot in. If you're looking to get a great shot of buildings from the outside, utilize natural evening lighting. There's a window roughly 30 minutes after sunset begins when outdoor lighting matches the light inside buildings, creating the ultimate photo-op.

Utilize portrait mode

Most smartphone cameras now come with a portrait mode, which softens the background. This mode is great for capturing people’s faces and removing distracting backdrops. If you don't have a phone with portrait mode, try to get subjects at least 100 feet away from objects in the background and pose them in front of a simple, uncrowded backdrop.

Consider environmental portraits

You don’t have to remove the background for all portraits. When the environment is part of or adds to the person’s story, photograph the subject inside his or her world.

Focus on details

Storytelling involves details. Portraits, for example, don’t have to be of the person’s face – get creative and photograph less conventional details. A photo of a grandmother's hand next to a baby's hand is also a "family portrait" you'll cherish.

Include a point of reference

It's tempting to wait for people to clear out of a landscape shot to get a nice, empty photo. But people can actually be incorporated into the scene and enhance it. Having people can set the mood and will help create scale to show the size of a building, a canyon, a tree, etc.

Huey with his son and fellow photographer, Hawkeye

Try an add-on smartphone camera lens

Smartphones are compact for traveling and capture beautiful photos. For as little as $25 you can get add-on wide lenses or telephoto lenses that are easy to clip on and allow you to take an even wider variety of shots.

Take candid shots

Families often take posed portraits, but Huey prefers the candid, real shot. “Let everybody do their fake posed portrait, then also snap a few quick shots when they fall out of that pose.”

By Bridgette Langdon