Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Photo Tips for Better Picture Taking!

Watch the video here
Everyone reaches for the camera this time of year because the holidays make for Great Photo Opps, so here are some tips to turn your ordinary snaps into magical memories!

Double your Chances
The portrait in front of the tree is always traditional in my family, but remember that some of your best images happen in between the posing so keep shooting. It's a good idea if you can enlist another camera person along side you. A different exposure, perspective with twice the chances for that perfect photo. In the digital age there is no reason not to make it your goal to fill up the memory card!

Turn your Flash Off
I always prefer photos in natural light. You can reduce the dependency of using your flash if you open up window coverings and turn on lights in the room. Here is a photo of my Christmas tree, one with a flash and immediately after with the flash off.

Flash on                                         Flash off

Which one is better? Well it depends. If you are really proud of your tree trimming abilities you would pick the one with the "flash on" because you can see the details of the tree and the ornaments, whereas the photo with the "flash off" adds a tremendous amount of warmth, with the lights illuminating the tree. Just to be safe, take your pictures both ways ... with and without a flash. 

When you are photographing your kids underneath the tree looking for their presents you might find that the lit tree will be bright enough to light up their angelic faces, or you might need to turn on your flash. Most built in camera flash's  reach about 10 feet, but if it's washing people's faces out, back up a bit. Certainly, no flash is needed Christmas morning when all the light is streaming in from the windows.

Many religious and family traditions at this time of year include candlelight which gives off rich red and orange tones in a photo and adds drama. Sometimes the ambience is more important to your photo than a clearly lit face. The best way to capture the innocence of the moment itself ... is in it's natural light. 

Determine your Focus
When you are taking pictures of people, be sure to point the focus dot (or box) on their eyes. Generally when we look at people, it is eye-to-eye so naturally this is where you are able to capture the emotion of your subject. 

When you are trying to photograph a group of people in staggered depth, keep in mind that you will want to focus in the middle so the person in the front row and the back row remain in focus. If you only focus on the front, the people in the back will be blurry.

You might find there are many points of interest in your frame when you compose a photo, but you will need to choose one. This is what will grab the attention of your viewer ...
Sometimes you won't want the focus to be on a person at all, but instead on something not so obvious, like this piece of pie which makes for a unique and fun image you will treasure!

Get Closer
One of the simplest tips to getting a photo with a real a wow factor is to fill the frame of the shot with your subject and eliminate the dead space or headroom around them. This also gets rid of any clutter in the background, that can be distracting. Doing this will add a dynamic element to your photo and have a profound impact on your shot.

No Excuses. Period.
Almost everyone these days has a smart phone or iPhone in their pocket so there is really no excuse for not taking a couple snaps and sharing them with family far away. Download the popular and FREE apps like Instagram or Hipstamatic which can add cool effects like blurred edges and vignetting for a vintage retro flair.  -------------------------------->

AND if you are giving the gift of a camera this year to someone, make sure you take it out of the box, charge up the battery and install a memory card so it is ready to be used as soon as the wrapping is ripped open!

If you want to learn more about your camera and the keys to improve your photos, check out Chapter 13: Digital Tech and Chapter 14: Advanced Exposure in my book Face This, Real Advice from Real Models,   191 color pages full of tips and advice from models, photographers and makeup artists ... The secrets to looking great in front of the camera along with everything else you need to become Picture Perfect! Available on Amazon, Nook, Kindle and iTunes for iPod, iPhone and iPad users.

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