CT member Kacy here – I take Christmas Card photos for a close friend each year, usually a day or so after Thanksgiving. She has a large family, with quite a few small children, and capturing great photos can be a real challenge. Here are some of my favorite holiday photo tips.
# 1 Move in Close
Move in close or use your zoom lens to fill the frame with your subject – your photos will be much more interesting when the little details are visible and the subject is impossible to miss.
#2 Don’t use the flash indoors
This one sounds counterintuitive, but the automatic flash on your camera casts a harsh light on your subjects (and can be very unflattering). Instead, flood the room with as much light as possible – turn on the lights and open the shades. If shooting portraits, place the person next to a window or other light source.
If you have an SLR camera, you can shoot in a different mode to compensate for low light conditions:
- Aperture Priority mode (A or Av) lets you choose the camera’s sensitivity to light (also known as ISO) and the lens aperture while the camera calculates the best shutter speed based on the conditions.
- Shutter Priority mode (Tv or S) allows you to choose the shutter speed while the camera calculates the best aperture for the shot. Shutter speeds of 1/60 or 1/90 are good places to start for indoor photos.
Holding the camera steady when shooting with lower shutter speeds is sometimes difficult – you may want to invest in a tripod.
#3 Try a different angle
No one looks good when looking downward at a camera – this angle can cause odd shadowing and double-chins on virtually everyone. Standing on a short step stool or ladder and having your subjects look up at the camera can eliminate this problem.
The reverse is often true for photos of kids. If you are much taller than them, all your photos will be of them craning their necks upward. Get down on their level.
#4 Sometimes the best option is a lot of photos
Otherwise known as the “spray and pray”, multiple shots are especially useful for group shots – I can’t count the number of times where at least one person is blinking or looking off to the side in almost all of the group photos I’ve taken. Sometimes swapping heads in Photoshop is an option, and sometimes not.
This is where burst mode, or continuous shooting mode comes in handy. This camera mode allows multiple photos while the shutter is pressed down – the number of frames or photos that the camera can shoot in a given time period varies by the camera model. For example, my Canon can capture five frames per second.
And burst mode can be helpful even in posed portraits! People tend to relax their faces a tiny bit in the short moment after they hear the click of your camera – in burst mode, you can capture this moment