This is a repeat of a blog post I did last year. Also here's a replay of the Fox 43 interview.
The Holidays should be a time of joy and celebration but it often turns stressful for whomever is in charge of taking the pictures. This year, eliminate the stress and take better pictures by following a few basic tips.
The night before the holiday gathering, make sure you have your gear ready. This means fully charged batteries, and an extra set. Plenty of empty memory cards. Tripod, light stands, reflectors. You may also want to have your camera and flash settings correct prior to the family gathering as well. This will ensure your pictures turn out great without having to fumble with the settings while your family is there.
Use the Right Light
When photographing the Christmas tree, avoid using flash. Flash will overpower the lights on the Christmas tree and create a harsh shadow. Also, try out of focus shots when photographing the tree.
If it's all possible, avoid using the on-camera pop-up flash when photography people. Direct flash is very unflattering and should be avoided. If you do not have the option for remote flashes, using something like a piece paper towel over the flash will help soften and diffuse the light.
Also consider using as much available light as possible. This means opening the windows and letting natural light in. If you're using lights from lamps or other artificial light sources, remember to change the White Balance setting on your camera to avoid strong color shifts.
Getting Great Holiday Family Portraits
But if you want to try yourself, these tips may help.
Have the family wear festive, holiday colors. You want the photo to say the Holidays so greens, reds, and whites are appropriate. Not everyone has to wear the same color, but patterns and busy prints should be avoided.
If you decide to take the photo outdoors, earth toned colors are a safe bet.
Make sure all your camera and lighting settings are correct before the family poses. This will ensure that the task will be stress free and that you keep your subjects looking happy. This is especially true for kids and babies. You'll have a time span of about 2 minutes. Make sure you spend that time getting great smiles and expressions and not fidgeting with your camera settings.
When photographing a group of people, have everyone close their eyes and count to three. On three, have them open their eyes and then take the shot. This will reduce the chances of someone blinking.
Getting Great Holiday Family Candids
Make a list of shots that you don't want to miss. A list will help you remember important shots that you may otherwise forget because of the hectic nature of the day.
When photographing kids and pets, get on their level. Perspective can make a break a photo.
Anticipation is the key. Be ready when kids open their gifts to make sure you capture their expressions.
Take a shot for every gift opened. This will help keep memories alive.
When photographing in the snow, remember that all digital cameras will have a tendency to underexpose. Change the settings on your camera to increase the exposure 1-2 times the norm.
Last but not least.....have fun!