Monday, November 22, 2010

A Few Tips for Better Holiday Photos

We're entering the time of year when there is an overload (pleasantly so!) of events with family and friends.  You'll want to capture those special memories and times.  Life is so unpredictable and memories are great.

Here are a few guidelines that help me make the most of the picture-taking opportunities.  I hope they will help you, too.
  1. Make sure your batteries are charged and ready and BRING YOUR CAMERA WITH YOU!!!  If you don't have your camera or the batteries are dead or the memory card is full, you'll be sad to miss the opportunity to take a picture.
  2. Be sensitive to people's desire to be in a picture or not.  But don't be afraid to gently remind the person that the purpose of your taking the picture is so that you can remember them and their participation in your life.
  3. Don't let taking pictures take the place of good conversation and actual participation in the event.  It's us avid shutterbugs that enter this mode sometimes.  It's OK to put the camera down and MAKE the memories instead of just capturing them.
  4. In addition to capturing the people, take pictures of the details.  What did the table setting look like?  What about the meal?  Decorations?
  5. Is there a special tradition in your family?  Try to capture it!
  6. Keep it simple.  Make sure you fill the frame with your subject.
  7. Check the background and four corners of your frame.  Make sure to include what you want to include and exclude what you don't want to include.
  8. Don't be afraid to move the wrapping paper, glass, messy plate, or whatever before you trip the shutter.  Try to minimize with what is competing with your main subject.
  9. Soften the flash with a bit of tissue or tissue paper over the flash.  This will cut down on glare, harsh shadows, and red eye and soften the lighting.
  10. Smile!  If you smile when you are taking the pictures, your subject is likely to smile back!

This image of my lovely niece is simple yet effective.  The elements that make it work: 
  • It's simple.  The viewer knows what I was taking a picture of.
  • I have her eye contact.
  • The background is not distracting, but definitely places it at Christmas.
  • The frame is full with no distractions.
  • The off-center composition adds to the interest.
More important than all of these tips is to enjoy and treasure those special times!

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