Holiday Photos 101: Expert Tips for Improving Your Family Snapshots
Do you wish that you could take photos like the pros? With today's digital cameras it's not the fancy equipment that keeps us from taking great shots-it's our technique.
Get a crash course in better photography with Kirstin Radasch, award winning photographer, owner of ArtVisionsPortraiture.com and your holiday snapshots can be cherished memories today and in the future.
Radasch knows the power of a great image. "To capture the moment, reveal the beauty within the child," she explains. Digital cameras take the technical guesswork out of photography. Training eyes to look for winning shots just takes practice.
Don't be greedy. Don't pack too much into each frame, making a photo look chaotic. Skip the usual wide-angle shots of the whole group sitting at the table or crowds of kids unwrapping gifts. Try focusing on individuals, especially if they're doing something true to their personality. Those are the keepers, what Radasch looks for in her portrait sessions.
Often individual portraits are the most meaningful images from the season. Look for a range of emotions on faces, and remember to shoot candids as well as posed images. Candids share much more about a person than a staged moment. If you're using a digital camera, shooting lots of images increases your chance of getting a standout picture and you can always delete the ones that aren't.
Any photographer will tell you that morning or late afternoon sunlight is "golden time." Include an outdoor activity in your holiday schedule to take advantage of natural lighting. When indoors it's best to use a flash but with caution. Too little flash and your pictures may look dark and lose detail. Too much flash and your subjects look like ghosts in a police lineup. Try adding supportive light sources to rooms with candles, bright colored lights from the tree or an additional floor lamp in the room.
Radasch advises leaving family portraits to the professionals. But if you must, start by setting your camera angle lower than usual and use that self- timer. More than anything, Radasch reminds us to bring joy and love into the photographic experience, which she feels makes the best photos. And remember that saying "cheese" can only bring you just that--cheesy photographs!
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