The holidays are a great time to take fantastic photos of lights, decorations and events. It is also one of the few times a year so many family members are in one place – an ideal opportunity for a family portrait. Here are some tips I have put together to help you take memorable photos of your holiday.
1. Make sure you have enough blank memory cards (or film) and charged batteries. I always carry a fully charged backup battery in my camera bag. If you have a computer nearby to offload the photos, even better. Read your camera manual or use a tutorial. If you do not know how to properly use it, you will never be able to take full advantage of all it has to offer.
2. For actions shots, like a child in a play or opening gifts, be ready to take the shot and have the camera in hand. If you have a camera with “Drive Mode” options, try continuous shot for quicker shooting. Don’t be afraid to get in closer where the action is happening.
3. Composition is one of the key aspects of photography. Rather than always placing the subject in the middle of the photo, try a different angle or off center. Filling the frame also makes for a better photo. Don’t be afraid to get creative with composition. It helps to make your pictures much more interesting.
4. Try using natural light rather than flash. So often the flash is left on automatic, and the photo will appear over exposed (too light). If you see a lot of shadows on your subjects face (i.e. under eyes), whether indoors or out, then a flash is necessary.
5. When taking pictures of lights, whether outdoors or on our tree, a tripod is useful. Try long exposures (keeping the shutter open for a loner duration) if your camera allows for interesting effects. If you ever see the photos of cars that leave the long light trails, that is done by long exposure. You can also do a long exposure and move the camera in different directions for an artistic look.
6. Play with the zoom and macro options. Great way to get different perspectives of the same scene or object.
7. Intrusions and truncations into frame edges can be distracting and take away from the image quality and focus. There is a term called “phantom limbs” we sometimes use in photography. Ever see a photo where the subject is standing in front of a tree and it looks like another arm or something odd is growing out of his or her head? Pay attention to what is in the background and edges to make sure it will not be distracting.
8. Family photos, especially large groups, are not always easy to take. There is always a person who blinks, one who doesn’t want to stand still and one who refuses to smile. To get the best possible chance of a good photo, take several and fast as you can. If doing different groupings, get the children done first and let your elders relax until you need them.
9. Don’t forget the pets! They are part of the family too. For dogs, exercise them then photograph. Have treats in hand. Those two things will make them more cooperative.
10. If you plan on giving a camera as a gift, charge the battery, put it and the memory card in the camera, and have the time and date set up. It is so nice to be able to open the box and start using the camera right away.
Once you have taken the photos, uploaded to your computer and shared with your friends and family, have some printed and displayed at home. I have so many clients with loads of photos on their computers, or prints in shoe boxes, but none one their walls. My philosophy is photographs are for sharing, so show them off.
Hope these tips help, and Garrison Studio wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday.