5 Tips for the Taking the Best Holiday Photos Ever
Between the decked halls, beautifully wrapped gifts and being surrounded by family and friends, there are so many opportunities to create memorable photos during the holiday season. Since the photos you take today will become part of your family story that you share tomorrow, documenting the traditions you carry on and the time you spend together is important. Whether you want to capture Grandpa Joe giving his animated Christmas Eve speech from the head of the table, or the expression on your child’s face when she opens up that #1 gift on her list on Christmas morning, here are five tips to creating memorable photos during the holidays:
1. What’s the Point?
Will this be the first time you and your siblings have gathered after many years and you'd like to have a print made from a photo you take together? Are you looking to snap a few pics so you can update your family blog? Figure out what the purpose of your photos are and have an idea of what you plan to do with them before you even take the camera out. This will help you stay focused on getting the shots you want the most so you don't spend too much time behind the lens or looking at a screen.
2. Get In There
Use the timer on your camera or download a timer app on your phone to help YOU get in some of the photos. Set your camera/phone on a steady surface about ten feet away (depending how big your group is), fire up the timer and get in there! PRO TIP: use the camera on the back of your phone for a higher-quality photo than taking it “selfie-style,” (this also helps to avoid weird angles and double chins).
3. Find the Joy
There is something magical about those candid moments of pure joy that spontaneously happen right before your eyes. Be on the lookout for these moments: sweet hugs between children and parents or grandparents, gift-opening expressions of delight, and so on. Use the burst mode if you want to capture the moment as it is happening (but be sure to select the one or two favorites from the burst right away so it isn’t a chore later).
4. Change Your Perspective
Before you snap, ask yourself what needs to be in the frame and what needs to go. For groups, try to get in close to focus on faces. Detail shots of a table setting look great from a birds-eye view. Keep clutter and distracting elements out of the shot by changing your position or the position of your subject. Sit on the floor to capture the mayhem of opening presents. Fill the frame to capture elements that help tell a story. PRO TIP: Zoom in or out with your feet. This is especially true with cell phone cameras, as quality can degrade when you zoom on a camera phone.
5. Let It Be (Let It Be)
Allow me to whisper these words of wisdom to you…while posed photos have their place and value, it is important to let the time you spend together naturally unfold. Not every photo needs to include everyone making eye contact with the camera and making a “say cheese” smile (usually the most unnatural kind of smile). Be patient and have the camera ready so you can capture this part of your story in an interesting and meaningful way.