2014 International Photography Contest Winner

Grace Chung rides a zip line during her

Costa Rica Family Adventure trip.

Grace Chung, the grand-prize winner of the 2014 International Photography Contest for Kids, shares photos and photography tips from her Costa Rica Family Adventure trip. Check out the gallery, then grab your camera and submit pics to the 2015 International Photography Contest. You could win a Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks Family Adventure for two provided by National Geographic Expeditions!

An important rule of photography is the rule of thirds. Imagine that you break up the image into thirds both vertically and horizontally so that it's split into nine parts. For most pictures, your subject should be placed near the intersection of

those lines. But not always: I placed this jaguar’s body slightly to the left of the intersections.

I wanted to create a dark background to illuminate the bright colors of this toucan, so I used a flash and a narrow aperture.

Luckily, the background was far away, so no light from the flash hit it. A neat black background was created.

Sometimes a photo can be more interesting if the subject makes eye contact with the viewer.

I clicked the shutter right when this howler monkey looked at me.

The flash can be used for multiple purposes. There is little light in the rain forest, so I used a flash to increase light and brighten the beautiful emerald feathers of this green-crowned brilliant hummingbird.

When shooting landscape photos, it's best to shoot with a narrow aperture.

This allows you to increase the depth of field and keep all parts of the photo sharp.

One important tip for wildlife photography is to get at “eye-level” perspective with the subject when you can.

For this photo, I got flat on the ground to get at the same level as this black iguana.

For macro photos with a single subject, the aperture needs to be wide, unlike in landscape photos.

With a wide aperture, I was able to keep the focus on only the millipede and blur everything in the background.

Insects like this orange-barred sulphur butterfly are skittish and quick, making it hard to take a picture without blur.

Because of this, you’ll need to set up your camera at a fast shutter speed of at least 1/500 to get the perfect shot.

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