Southern Italy (1 image)
Hello Forum,.

I'm off to Southern Italy on Tuesday (Matera to be precise) and where I'm going is really beautiful and photographic but as I'm new to photography I was wondering if any of you guys and girls would be able to give me some pointers what to look out for and what not to do whilst shooting on holiday..

I will have a Canon EOS400D and a Tamron AF 17-50 lens with a Speedlite 430EX flash with me whilst I'm there..

Matera is very old and is basically lots of rock and the weather seems like it's going to be hot and sunny whilst I'm there.. I'm really worried about not having good holiday pics hehe..

Any tips or pointers gratefully appreciated..

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This is Matera just for reference..



Comments (7)

The most important things are good light and good composition regardless of location. For grand scenics such as you posted the light is usually best early morning or late afternoon/evening. If you're taking photo's of people in mid-day try to do so in the shade and/or use fill flash to reduce the contrast on the subject (assuming it's within range of your flash)..

Edit: As much as I dislike the word "best" due to it's subjectiveness. This is a good article.

Comment #1

Thanks for that!.

My main worry is that my photos don't do the place any justice and maybe it's hard to take pics in such a small town that's all sandy stone coloured..

Hopefully I can take a few good pics and post some results later!.

Thanks againMark..

Comment #2

The biggest difficulty will be contrast: very bright sun in one part of the street and deep shadows in another. You will minimise disappointing shots caused by this problem if you become very familiar with your camera's exposure metering. The advice to use a lot of flash for people is good for the same reason..

Get a circular polarising filter..

'Some of the money I spent on booze, women and fast cars, but the rest I squandered' - George Best..

Comment #3


Like Topsy, this list just grew and grew! It's in no particular order and pls ignore the blindingly obvious or irrelevant - hopefully something will be useful!.

Wide angle for crowded streets and alleys.

A circular polarising filter will bring out those blue skies - but be sure you don't always set the fullest darkening: the effects can easily look ridiculously overdone..

For instance, I think this one was only about halfway.

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A small, light tripod or minipod is handy for longer exposures inside the sassi, churches etc, and for holding the camera in place whilst shooting panoramas (landscape "strips" and two-shot verticals to simulate a wider angle lens)..

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Flash may sometimes help outdoors in the struggle between deep shadows and extreme sunlight.

On sunny days (which, here, means most of the time!) I set a bit of negative exposure compensation (-1/3 or -2/3 of a stop) to prevent the brightest areas from washing out..

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And - as that shot demonstrates - do remember that in much of southern Italy pretty much everything not dedicated to tourism closes at lunchtime, and only reopens at 4.30 or 5 pm. If you're travelling round, try to time your journeys so you don't arrive just as the shutters are rolling down..

Exposure - check and recheck your saved images and their histograms. You could even set, say, +/- 2/3 of a stop of auto-exposure bracketing for the first day or two, until you've got a good idea of which setting is working best..

Pack your video cable so you can review your shots on the TV and delete the rejects, rather than taking them home with you. Not just a card space saving measure, it will also let you discover if you need to go back and reshoot anything!.

Even if you don't usually do it (yet), be sure you shoot the highlights of your trip in RAW+JPG - bigger files but one day you'll be glad you've got them!.

Bring an adaptor for your battery charger - and be sure not to forget the charger itself..

I use a non-descript bag to carry my camera stuff so that it's out of sight but to hand when not in use. Having two may be even better - a small "essentials" bag and one that's big enough for maps, guidebook, camera instructions, spare battery and memory card, polariser, minipod, suntan lotion, water bottle, corkscrew/bottle opener, tissues and plasters!.

Guidebook warnings about no shorts etc when visiting churches are generally OTT, but be sure you behave respectfully or go back later if there's a service or prayers under way. The slightest effort, like your girlfriend putting a shawl or wrap over bare shoulders, usually more than makes up for the pair of you having bare knees etc..

If you're not bringing lots of memory cards or a laptop or storage device, you may find yourself looking for a sign like this!.

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Make sure you've watched Mel Gibson's 'Passion' recently, so you can spot the places used for location filming.

More than anything our visiting friends and relatives (over and over and over again) have problems with their footware. Chances are that you'll be wandering round more than usual, so bring at least one pair of comfortable, worn-in shoes, sandals or flipflops each - no matter how hideous they may be..

Finally, if I may say so, do remember that photography isn't everything - the real point is that you and your girlfriend have a great time!.


Peter - on the green island of Ischia

Comment #4


That was an interesting read and very inciteful, thankyou very much!.

I assume because you know about the Sassi and Mel Gibsons film that you either live near Matera or you've been there !?.

Thanks again!.


Comment #5

My pleasure!.

We've been fairly involved with our local film festival, which concentrates on location filming, cinetourism and the like. Their site's here - but you'll need some Italian!

"The Passion" took their 2003 Foreign Award - for overseas films set in Italy - so Matera is famous here, but it's just one of 1000 Italian places on our "to see" list!.

Have a great holiday,Peter.

Peter - on the green island of Ischia

Comment #6

Most of it's been covered by others but another vote for a polariser. Also look for how people live in the town, markets for example.Shay son of Che..

Comment #7

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