#PHOTO TIP – Maximise the quality of your photos

I have a friend, a dear friend, who is constantly taking photographs. In fact she drives me nuts. No event is allowed to pass un-photographed; whether it’s a visit to the beach, a barbecue or just dinner, she always has her camera in our faces.

To be fair, she has a good eye and some of her images are really great. Whenever we need a photograph of someone or something our first thought is ‘ask Silvia’. Most of the time she does have a photo that would ideal for our purposes but we’ve never been able to use a single one of them.

The reason: she persists in setting her image quality at the smallest size so that she can get as many photos as possible on the memory card.

Her logic is that she only wants them for her own memories and for posting on Facebook so she doesn’t need them to be better quality.

This is madness.

Get a bigger memory card

Memory cards are not expensive. A 4GB memory card (in the most common SD format) costs as little as £5 (US$7).

The maths is simple; the higher the quality setting you choose, the more information your camera stores for each photograph and the bigger the file it creates, therefore as you increase image quality/size, you will get fewer photos on your memory card.

A 4GB card will hold 237 images in an uncompressed (RAW) format on a 12 megapixel camera. If you choose the highest quality JPEG setting you can get over 800 photos on the same 4GB card from the same 12 megapixel camera.

As you decrease your resolution you will get a lot more images onto the card. Conversely, as you increase card size you will get a proportional increase in the number of images that can be stored.

Even if you are just taking snaps for posting on Facebook, will you ever need to store more than 800 before you transfer them to your computer?

If all you want to do is post your photos on Facebook, that’s fine, you can still do that but more importantly, if you want to make prints a higher quality setting means you now have enough resolution to be able to do that and if you want to crop your photo, you can do it and still retain good definition.

Check your camera settings

One of the first things I do at the start of a safari is to (politely) ask to look at the settings on each person’s camera.

I am regularly surprised by the number of people who will spend more than £1000 on a camera and lens combination; several thousand pounds on the cost of their holiday and then overlook the basic task of making sure their camera is set to take photos at the highest quality.

If you are going to take photos then make them as good as they can be. You don’t have to use the RAW setting, just make sure that you use the highest quality setting for JPEG files.

If you don’t want to take high quality photos then why waste your money on a high quality camera?