With the holidays fast approaching, lots of family, friends and clients will always ask me, "What is the best camera?" I always respond with, "What camera do you have now?" You see, the camera that you have now that takes photographs is going to be the best. The conceptual approach is more towards actually taking the photograph and not getting caught up with the consumer race of buying the latest and greatest DSLR or smartphone. The best photographers are thinking more about the principles of photography like composition, light and exposure in comparison to megapixels, ISO performance and name brand. While I tend to shoot with both Nikon and Canon, I don't let them dictate on how I take photographs. As a result, I tell people about how to take better pictures in general.
At the same token, people often ask me about taking better photographs when they are traveling. I love being a tourist as I try to find the most common hot spots for street photographs with a simple Google search or through Flickr and discover the hundreds and thousands of photos that most people take and then attempt my own rendition to it. The photo of the Public Market Center in Seattle and Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco are typical photos although, night photography is more unique. You stand right in front of your subject and snap the photo. Travel photography afficianados really attempt to look at these city monuments in a different light. For example, the photographs of God's Door of Pfiefer Beach in Big Sur (top photo) and Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hi (bottom photo) offer different perspectives that are interesting and not so often used. Similar to street photography, you may want to look into framing and sub-framing subjects more that may be off center and provides a more interesting composition. So the next time you head out with your camera, think more about taking photos to your liking and how you would like to remember it rather than trying to find a camera to "do all the work" with bells and whistles that you may not necessarily need.
Lastly, one should also attempt to take photos of family and friends that may not be so candid but still show connectivity and common themes. Earlier this year at a family vacation in Hawaii, I got to sneak this photo of Lea, Andrew and Chloe after a day at the beach. They were in the water all day and when it was time to head back they quickly fell asleep in the car. It was a semi-long drive back to the cottage and I was able to turn around from the passenger side seat and take this great photo of them sleeping in the car. The fact that the children are laying upon one another also shows how close they are to each other. I always suggest to take photographs of children at their eye level so it's more likely that you would get down low and even get down to one knee to take a better perspective. In addition, look at the background of the photos. If I took the same photo of these children at a higher vantage point, you would see all the clutter in the back to the minivan. That would add more clutter to the photo and take attention away from the real photo of watching these children sleeping.