Oh boy! Here we go again with the holidays! Families are together and that means besides the massive amounts of gravy in the bloodstream, cameras are coming out of the purses and shutters are sure to be pressed. Here are just a few quick tips from a professional photographer that will help you to get better holiday snapshots of your loved ones:
1) Stay calm:
When you are the one holding the camera, something amazing happens; you’re suddenly in charge! If you have a camera in your hand, the president of the United States will have no choice but to obey your commands. Because of this authority, you must stay calm at all times. Kids can become cranky and adults too. Everyone can be in a huge rush to “get this picture taken” and if you lose your cool, not only will the photo be ruined, but you might have a few dinner rolls thrown at your head. No matter what happens, good or bad, remain calm, cool and collected throughout the entire time you are taking photographs and take charge.
The most challenging part about photographing people is getting a good expression out of your subjects. When working with kids, it is best to avoid the typical “Say Cheese!” as they’ve heard this so many times and this will still not give you a genuine expression. Instead, try a different phrase for kids to say, such as “Daddy wears diapers!” or “Silly monkey!” Kids haven’t heard these phrases so they might stop to think about the phrase before they say it, which can give a great expression by itself. It might also make them laugh at the phrase itself. Using a unique phrase for kids is much better idea than just saying “cheese.”
For adults, the expression is easier to accomplish but pay attention to your tone of voice. If you want everyone to smile, make sure you sound enthusiastic, upbeat and make sure to be smiling yourself! Likewise, if you want them to have a softer expression, talk softly, slowly and change the tone of your voice to something more soothing. Your mood and energy are both very contagious to those around you and it will show in the photograph.
After the dinner is over and someone hands you the camera saying, “Take a picture of everyone!” how do you group together several people? You’re not trying to create a work of art in the likes of Caravaggio or Da Vinci with a quick snapshot but there are a few artistic principles you can follow that will help you get a more pleasing image to look at. When you group together everyone, try to make sure everyone’s faces are showing and try to get everyone’s faces evenly spaced apart from everyone else. This will give a nice design and balance to the group. Also, try your best to get everyone’s faces on the same plane in order to keep everyone from the front row to the back row in focus, as well as making sure those in the front don’t look enormous compares to those in the back row.
4) Now what?
Personally, I love prints. Seeing my images made into a print I can touch and feel and display gives me a sense of accomplishment. With digital photography, however, most people don’t even print their day to day photographs. Go ahead, check your camera’s memory card right now. I’ll bet it’s filled with pictures from months and months ago and you still haven’t done anything with them! Here are a few ideas for what to do with those photos you’re bound to take this holiday season:
Put it in a slideshow to share on the internet. Go to Smilebox.com to make free slideshows for Facebook, blogs, etc.
Create Christmas ornaments out of your photos. If you don’t feel you’re very crafty to make your own, find a good lab that offers them in their product line.
Just for fun, print your own water bottle labels with your pictures on them. Guests that visit your home might be just a little jealous! ShinDigz.com can print them for you for 50 cents each.
Was it the best Christmas ever? Head over to Shutterfly.com and design your own photo book. These make great gifts!
If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help you in anyway. Also, take a second and LIKE the TNG Photography Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/TNGphotography
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