Tis the season for holiday decorating, overeating, over spending and family gatherings. If you’re like most Americans, you will most likely be toting a camera around with you on these occasions. How do you capture these moments and what are the best tips from the pros? Lucky for you I have some great tips for even the most beginning novice.
Don’t have a super fancy DSLR? No worries, the point and shoot cameras that are available today take some really amazing pictures. Even I don’t carry around my big pro camera to family functions, I carry my small Canon Powershot. The first tip I tell everyone is to READ YOUR MANUAL! Get to know your camera and the different settings. For example, you should be able to switch between having the flash fire automatically or turn that baby off. If you want a moody shot of the neighborhood Christmas lights, you obviously don’t want the flash going off automatically, you need to know how to turn the flash off.
Decide what is your subject. This is a HUGE one that I tell people all the time, especially my parents. Every time my parents come back from a trip there are always pictures of my mom, about the size of an ant, the huge skyline, the trees, cars, etc all in one picture. What is the focus? If you’re going to do a scenic photo, take the people out, if you want a photo of a person, make them the star and don’t worry about all that scenery. Too often I see holiday pictures with the huge Christmas tree, the stockings hung, and the kids in about 1/4 of the photo. Trust me, if your kids are the star of the photo and take up 75% of the frame, the viewer still understands and sees they’re in front of the Christmas tree, you don’t need all 8 feet of the tree in there.
Be creative. We always try to do something different with our holiday pictures, whether its a fun picture of the kids wrapped up in a ton of Christmas lights, just a picture of their feet in front of the fire, or funny angles of their toys. That’s the joy of the digital age, you can take as many pictures as you want, so go ahead and be creative!
And finally… edit edit edit. I am a AVID believer in editing. We have way to many pictures stored on our hard drives these days. We didn’t use to have 150 pictures from Christmas, maybe a roll of 36 exposures right? Just because we took the picture does not mean we have to save it. We don’t need a picture of every toy that was opened, or the back of the kids when they were playing with their cousins. Instead edit the pictures down to a solid 30-40 pictures that represent this holiday season best and get them into an album of some sort. Whether is an online album to share with friends and family or a printed album get them off the computer and into a place that your children can look at! Don’t hand them a hard drive when they’re all grown, get these memories in print.