Get your best ever holiday photos

Holiday photos are a great way to capture good times and happy memories but how often are your holiday snaps bleached out, red-eyed or badly cropped? Here are a few tips for taking great pictures - and the best digital cameras to do it with.

Guide to taking holiday photos
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First of all, know your camera - try it out before you board the flight and you will be better able to make the most of its features. For example, know how to use the self-timer so that your friends and family will remember you were actually there! Be aware of its zoom or flash capabilities - does it have a red-eye reduction facility? Is your camera a basic point and shoot model - if not, familiarise yourself with the techniques you are likely to use.

Secondly, remember that candid shots are often the best. Not every holiday photo needs to focus on your group standing in front of a Roman ruin! Taking shots of individuals or small groups chatting is more likely to capture the real mood and atmosphere of your break and those are the really good memories.

When it comes to photographing people, whether adults or children, try to shoot with the camera at eye level - shoot from above or below and the perspective will be foreshortened, giving your loved ones tiny bodies and gigantic heads or vice versa.

And lastly always, always take a spare, charged battery and a spare memory card. A camera case with those handy little pockets is advisable for these little extras but it will be worth it for those unexpectedly late nights or magical moments.

What digital camera?

If you are in the market for a new camera to take on holiday, consider first what you hope to get from your new gadget.

Good value at around the £100 mark is the Canon A480 - you probably won't win any prizes for your pics but it is easy to use, provides good images and boasts both Motion and Face Detection to help you get the best shots. If you are willing to spend just a little more, however, the Panasonic Lumix FS62 is an excellent buy. Thanks to Intelligent Auto and simple controls, it is easy to use but, unlike the Canon, boasts image stabilisation which is rare on a camera of this price.

If you're heading to the beach or are off on an active holiday, you need a digital camera that can withstand the odd, shall we say, accident. There are waterproof and shockproof cameras available that are ideal, particularly if your kids like to take the occasional snap - consider the Panasonic FT2 for a camera that will still take photos when the going gets tough!

Those considering spending more could go for a long zoom compact camera, such as the Fuji F70EXR - though it is still easy to use, the extra zoom is handy for shooting wildlife or detail and, though the manual control is limited, it does afford the user a little more control than a basic point-and-shoot camera. And the image quality is excellent.