Tips for Holiday Photos You’ll Cherish

by Warren Tang

As the holidays are upon us, many of us are feeling the need to capture memorable photos of friends and family, food and fun, and the sparkle of joy in the eyes of the little ones.  Whether you’re wielding a $2,000 professional DSLR camera, snapping with a slim and trim compact camera, or dusting off an old film camera for this annual tradition, your holiday photos don’t need to be boring line-ups of the usual suspects or posed mug shots with artificial smiles.  Here are hints to help you create some inspired photos you’ll cherish for years to come.

Turn Off The Flash And Use A Tripod -

Most amateur photographers assume that a flash, whether built-in or add-on, is necessary for indoor photos.  The truth is a flash will light up Uncle Bob’s toothless smile or little Jimmy’s rosy cheeks with a bright white light while the background will fall into indistinguishable darkness.  If you have a DSLR with an add-on flash you may be able to tilt the flash upward to “bounce” the light off the ceiling, and succeed in lighting the background as well as little Jimmy’s adorable grin, but you’re still drowning the scene with sterile, ambiance robbing white light.  Part of what makes the holidays charming is that golden glow of holiday lights – candles flickering on the table, a yule log burning in the fireplace, the warm twinkle of a thousand Christmas tree lights.  To capture this magical light you’ll need to turn off your camera flash and mount your camera on a tripod.  Why do you need a tripod?  Because without a flash, the dim indoor lighting in most homes would cause the camera to use a 1 second or longer exposure.  Since nobody can hold a camera perfectly still for 1 or 2 seconds, the result will be a very blurry photo.  Go ahead, grab your tripod and give it a try.  Turn off your flash and you’ll be rewarded with dreamy photos bathed in the golden light of the holidays!

Get Down Low And Get Close –

Just because you’re taller than your kids doesn’t mean most of your photos should be of the tops of their heads. To get some great photos of children try to get down to their level where you can make eye contact and really engage them. You can even try getting down on your belly and shooting up! The new perspective can be fun and different! Another common problem with holiday photos is the background clutter that distracts the viewer and ruins otherwise lovely photos. The way to exorcise drunk party guests, roaming relatives, and piles of wrapping paper from the backgrounds of your photos is to get close. By zooming in or simply walking closer to your subject, you can capture little Suzie’s gleeful gasp as she tears open that perfect gift without showing off the pile of paper, ribbons, and unfolded laundry in the background.

Shoot Things, Not Just People –

As much as the holidays are about people – family, friends, loved ones, and even in-laws – the spirit of the holidays is also in the décor, the food and yes, the desserts. To capture the full essence of the holiday season I encourage you to include photos of the things that make your family holiday unique and special. Years from now you’ll cherish that photo of the paper mache snowman your child made in school or that triple layer banana rum upside-down cake from Aunt Selma.

With my 3 simple photo tips you’re ready to take some holiday photos you’ll be proud to display on the mantel and cherish for years to come. What are you waiting for? Go grab that camera and go snap some priceless keepsakes!

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