Tips For Taking The Best, Most Cherished Holiday Family Photos
Remember the days of old – when Grandmother would force all the kids & grands onto the living room love seat clad in matching ruby red corduroy bottoms and UGLY Christmas Sweaters? Remember the youngest son sitting in grandpas chair with his beautiful new wife on his lap? And, remember the first great grand-child smothered in a Rudolph costume slobbering and wondering whats going on? – Well, maybe you do or maybe you don’t but IF that moment in time existed as a photograph it would live in infamy for generations to come. Family from far and wide would come visit, point, and laugh at that photo and be instantly transported back to that uncomfortable couch of old, and again feel the joy and pains of the holiday season. That is what photography means to me and I have a few tips on how to achieve digital photo mastery without necessarily being a digital photo master.
K.I.S.S. – Just Keep It Simple
If you were a professional photographer then you would be getting paid. Don’t try to regulate the lighting and the seating and the clothing, and the smiles, and the hair, and the kids and the pets and the dogs, because JUST LIKE this sentence is RUNNING ON and getting OLD so will your moment and you will be stuck with dry lifeless images as people get bored with all your setup. You want to catch people looking themselves, being themselves, and being happy, don’t spoil it with all your rules.
DON’T Be A Drill Sergeant
This is a play off step one, because ENERGY is what is being captured in the family photo. When you bark orders, yell at the kids, or FORCE someone to be in the picture that does not want to be, you suck the life out of the room. IF you get people to respond, they will be stiff like soldiers waiting for the command to go back to what they were doing before you interrupted the party to take your pictures.
PLAN To Take This Picture
If you fail to plan you plan to fail. Even if all the guests are not in on it, having key people in place to help you stage the photo when the time comes does wonders for organizing and for keeping the energy flowing as you get the camera ready. Get the music going, check batteries, and SD cards, also take a test shot before people arrive to see if the lighting works, all of these pre-planning items can help you achieve your goal!
KNOW Your Camera
This is possibly one of the most important tips. Learn what the camera can do and how to do it long before you gather the family. This will avoid you asking 5 people how to pop up the flash while folks sit jammed together on the couch sweating profusely. Do you need a different lens? How do you boost the flash in case the picture comes out dark? Should you use a tripod… (yes by the way – yes you should…) these things can be solved by tinkering with your device long before the moment happens.
REMEMBER touching is FUN!
Let me clarify… Nothing is more boring and unnatural looking than 10 people taking up the space that 20 people can fit in. If you reverse it and push 10 people into a space where only 5 people can normally fit comfortably you have set the stage for some goofy faces, bright pretty smiles and loud uncontrollable laughter that should be cherished and savored for decades. These are the moments you want to capture. These are the memories that require your expertise, or lack there-of. Don’t let the lack of a budget, or training in photography stop you from capturing your family at its very best.
Have fun and tag me in me a photo if you use any of these ideas!