Published October 31, 2011 by
Now that the digital age is upon us, most people have become shutterbugs. It’s so much fun to click and share your photos right away. If you’ve just purchased or received a digital camera or you want to know how to get professional-looking holiday photographs this season, read on.
Family photo greeting cards make great inexpensive holiday gifts. If you’re planning on taking a holiday Christmas card photo of the kids this year, plan early. Yes, you’ll have to buy their Christmas outfits ahead of time, but it will be worth it. No later than November, have your children dress in their holiday finery. Make sure you choose a time for your photo shoot that works for small children. If it’s just before nap time, you’re not going to get the best shots. Pick a time, like after lunch, when everyone’s happy and content.
Set up an area for your shot that’s got great lighting. It may be natural light or artificial. Just make sure there are no shadows or dark places that will obscure the little one’s face. Pick some holiday props. Even if your living room looks like a hurricane came through it, clear an area of all but a chair or bench and some lovely holiday props like christmas gift boxes or holiday stuffed toys or blanket. Depending on the number of children to be photographed and their age, you’ll want to have everything set up before you call them over. Take a few test shots to see if the area you’ve prepared looks good in the frame. Use your digital camera’s playback feature to see the shots after you’ve taken them.
Now, bring over the kids. You can also take a family photo if your camera has a self timer. Just set the camera on a piece of furniture or a tripod and click and run so you can get in the photo.
Set everyone up so that all faces can be seen and there are no distractions in the frame. Even the smallest thing can ruin a great photo. Make sure all collars are in the right place, all ruffles and fringe are flat and in place. All faces clean? Then you’re ready to roll.
Shoot a photo and look at it right away. Do the colors work? Is everyone smiling? Is the photo centered? Modern photo programs like Picasa (which you can download for free) will allow you to crop and edit, so you don’t have to go crazy trying to get it absolutely perfect. But no program will fix a photo that’s fuzzy or blurred.
Take another few frames and review. Are the expressions realistic? A phony looking card is worse than none at all. If you’ve got a whole family in the frame, be sure to check each person to make sure their eyes weren’t closed. Red eye can be taken out in a photo program so don’t worry so much about that.
If you’ve got small children or pets that are supposed to be in the picture, let them rest between takes. Chances are you’ll get a better photo if you are spontaneous. So have one person place Fido or Baby in their place as you quickly get several shots in a row. You may find that an unposed, off the cuff shot is better than anything you could have set up.
Have fun with holiday photo taking this year. Use the same suggestions when taking candids around the holiday table or at parties. Check to see what’s in the background before you shoot. Make sure the lighting is right. Turn off the flash if there’s an overload of light in the photo. Center your subject. Zoom in at concerts as close as you can to your child so you can get a good shot of their face. The audience shots of the entire group are often not as personal as a close up of the individuals.
With these simple guidelines, your holiday photos will turn out professional every time.