Take great pictures you will remember each and every holiday with these tips!
1. Select your card first. Then, you can focus on taking all of your shots in that orientation, be it horizontal or vertical. Most cell phone cameras have significantly improved and are excellent for these types of pictures, so don’t feel like you must invest in professional equipment.
2. While it may seem obvious, have some unity to your family “look” and make sure you communicate this to others. Don’t have Mom dressed up in her Sunday best while the kids pose in jeans and a sweatshirt. Continuity is key.
3. Look at the background. Outdoors works great especially in the late afternoon when the lighting is just perfect. Don’t be afraid of a cloudy/overcast day. It makes for soft light. If however, you are somewhere when it is not possible to go outside, turn on all the lights in the house and open doors and windows if possible to bring the outdoors in. Don’t position your group in front of a busy highway or complex background. Keep it simple. Consider an open field or brick wall.
4. If the group is large, position family members in a variety of levels and have the matriarch and/or patriarch front and center.
5. Be in the shot. Get a neighbor or friend to come by and shoot the image. Maybe cousin Mary Lou doesn’t like to be in pictures, but to her family it is important that she is there AND seen.
6. Don’t stress out and don’t make a day out of it. Keep the session short. You should be able to get what you need in 10-15 minutes. Remember this should be fun and not a chore.
7. If you are taking a photo of kids only, make certain you are on their level and that you don’t shoot down at them. Your camera should be around their eye level.
8. Just one more….When you think you have a good shot, take just one more. People are more relaxed and that unexpected shot is often the best.
Thank you to our contributor Sarah E. Gibbons
Sarah E. Gibbons is a photography instructor at The Art Institute of Raleigh–Durham, a campus of South University. Sarah holds a M.F.A. in photography from Savannah College of Art and Design and received her B.A in photography and art history from Lycoming College.
Her photography has explored the construct of personal identity in relation to gender, place and family, and group identity in relation to stereotype. With time being central to all of her work, her series, For The Time Being, investigates that concept in relation to waiting and impermanence versus longevity.
Sarah lives in Durham, NC where she is Lead Photography Faculty at The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham.
Disclaimer: This post is a collaboration with Sarah Gibbons. All opinions are of their own. Image credits: Sarah Gibbons