Holiday Season Photography Tips

Holidays are great times for getting pictures of family and friends. Everyone is together, and normally having a good time; it is people at their best.

family christmas photo

“Look What Else Santa Brought” captured by Jeff Smallwood

It’s also important from a historical perspective. You might be tempted to skip taking the camera, but think about how many times you’ve looked back on old photos of family and friends. For better or worse, those pictures mark the progression of your life. I’ve never looked back on any family event or place I’ve visited and wished I’d spent less time taking pictures—it’s almost always the opposite.

So take the camera. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your holiday pictures, whether you have an inexpensive point-and-shoot or the finest DSLR on the market.

Control Camera Shake

When you can, brace yourself against a wall, a chair, or something sturdy to give yourself a little extra stability, particularly when shooting indoors. This is a bigger problem with small cameras using an LCD screen at arm’s length than with larger cameras, which you’re holding closer to your eye.

Check Camera Settings

I’m notorious for bumping my camera mode selector, so I check it religiously. Check to make sure your camera is on the proper setting. But don’t be afraid to deliberately fiddle with the settings to get a different look; just remember where they were when you started!

Watch Your Fingers

Yes, even pros get fingers in the way of the flash sensor and the lens, especially with those little point-and-shoot cameras. Stay aware of how you hold the camera.

Take Pictures at Odd Times

Everyone does group pictures before going their separate ways, so think of something different. Shoot pictures at the breakfast table, while traveling somewhere, or at other times.

family scenes photography

“Well.. once you get the hang of this job it’s pretty easy” captured by Trevor Leyenhorst

Use Odd Angles

Experiment. Lie on the ground. Find a higher perspective or some other unusual angle. I once took a picture from the perspective of the Thanksgiving turkey being carried to the table; it’s one of our family favorites. It costs nothing to delete digital pictures, so don’t be afraid to be creative.

christmas baby photo

“Reading” captured by Mish Mish

Use Natural Frames

Use doors and windows as natural frames. Framing adds visual impact, so use doors and windows to your advantage.

family vacation photo

“Family Vacation: Shanghai” captured by Kamal Zharif Kamaludin

Look for Details and Texture

Sometimes it’s textural details that spur the most vivid memories: a close-up of someone’s hands, the colors of a favorite shirt. Get in close and emphasize the details and textures of your subject.

thanksgiving photo

“Thanksgiving Turkey” captured by Tim Sackton

Use Leading Lines

Try to find a perspective where a road, path, or other picture element leads your eye to the subject. Instead of standing over there by that house, take a perspective farther back and use the path to lead in to the subject.

family trip photo

“Wales 2013” captured by Jason Henry

Go Out in Bad Weather

Take pictures on bad weather days, too. Every day does not have to be a sunny day. Rainy days have their own special appeal, and dark clouds can add drama to any scene.

snowy family holiday photo

“Troodos in the Snow” captured by Mark Cartwright

Mainly, just have some fun. As I look back at my pictures, the ones I like the best are sometimes just pictures of nothing special. A grove of trees outside our old house, a picture of my mom in the kitchen with my nephew and his fiance, candid moments when I just pointed the camera and pushed the button without really even thinking about it.

About the Author:
Peter Timko writes on behalf of Proud Photography – which offers online photography courses on a variety of subjects.

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