Better Photos During the Holidays

The holidays are upon us. Friends and families will be gathering, kids playing, and grandpa will be asleep in his favorite armchair. These are the moments and people that you want to remember forever. It seems everyone has a camera on them at all times to capture these moments, but you want your photos to stand out. Take photos worthy of social media (or better yet, an actual photo album) with these easy tips.

Lighting

Photography is all about light. Low light can spell disaster for your photos. These tips will help during those low light moments.

  • Hold your camera steady. Try propping your camera on counter, chair back, someone’s back or some other fixed object. Hold it tightly with both hands and remain still.
  • Use available light. Move your subjects close to a window for natural light, or position them so that a nearby lamp shines on their faces instead of the back of their heads. Tap the screen to make sure the camera is focused and exposing for your subject’s faces.
  • If you have manual settings for your camera, increase the ‘ISO’ setting. This increases how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light. Be careful though, because the higher the ISO, the more grainy your pictures will become.
  • Capture the feel of the moment. Sometimes low light situations can express more feeling in your photos. Take a Christmas tree for example. They look amazing in the dark all lit up and sparkly. If you take a picture and use a flash, you lose the magic. Try propping up your camera or using a tripod to take the picture in the dark. Experiment! Instead of a Christmas tree, try a candlelit Thanksgiving dinner table or a snowman under the moonlight.

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People

Photos of people are usually the most meaningful.  Make them look their best with these tips.

  • Get down at kid’s level.  Kids are short but it’s not their fault. Kneel down at their eye level to better see them.
  • Get close.  Don’t be afraid to get close to your subject.  Be aware of other’s personal space though and be sure to turn off your flash.
  • Be a ninja.  Have your camera ready so the subject doesn’t see you coming.  Try to capture and anticipate those unplanned moments and reactions on their faces.
  • Be a director.  Don’t be shy to suggest a pose.  Most people are willing to oblige especially after a few spiked eggnogs.  Adding fun, smiles, and laughter to a photo is a great way to express emotion and get the viewers to have a smile of their own.
  • If you have manual settings on your camera, turn the aperture (usually marked by an ‘A’ on the dial or settings) to a low number, f/4  or lower if possible (this depends on your lens).  Not only does this let more light in through the lens, but it also creates a blurry background, called “bokuh”.  This helps to bring attention to your subject.  It also makes it harder to focus though, so be careful.

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