Family photos are not the sort of thing many families have the time or energy to do more than once each year. So once you get everyone in their coordinated outfits, find the perfect weather and can get everyone to hold still for the pictures, you want to make sure you have all the right equipment to get the job done in just one go. This holiday season, make sure you don’t turn picture day into Grinchmas with some simple gear to make everything run smoothly.
Holiday Portrait Tips
Incorporating a prop or small activity can be a great way to give your photos a fun theme beyond just a traditional Merry Christmas. While props can give the picture a theme, they can also give something for unruly children to focus on while you’re arranging your shots or waiting for the perfect light with an outdoor photo shoot.
Props can take many forms, but if you’re going to work them into your photo try to make sure they have some meaning to your family. If one of the kids has a recent obsession with trains, think about having the family sit on the floor inside a train track. If you have special new deck chairs, show off the chairs. Just remember to let your props accent the photo, not become their focus. Be sure not to force reluctant family members into weird sweaters or fuzzy antlers. You want a family photo that friends will share on their refrigerator, not on the Internet.
Having the right accessories for your camera can mean the difference between decent family photos and great holiday portraits. While it is sometimes simpler to rely on the camera’s flash or to try setting the shutter timer as you run back towards your family as you all hold your smiles and try not to blink, there is a better way. Even regular point-and-shoot cameras have a ton of options to enhance your photos. Here are a few of the digital camera accessories that can have a big impact on your holiday photo sessions.
*Light reflectors can make sure there are no random shadows in certain parts of the shots.
*If you don’t want to set up big light reflectors around your subjects, a lens hood can create some of the same effect. It will direct light from the flash directly at your family for better exposure.
*A tripod should be an essential addition if you plan on taking any family photographs. Tripods will make sure your photos stay level and minimize blur from squirmy children in low-light situations.
*A remote shutter trigger can be a lifesaver (and a cheeksaver) during a long portrait shoot. Rather than running back and forth, setting the timer for different shots, remote triggers let you take the photo exactly when you want, so there’s no waiting and clenching of smiles.
Sure, bribing your portrait subjects seems like cheating, but that’s only because it is! And it’s effective, especially for impatient kids and dads who might rather be watching football. It doesn’t take much to calm down subjects down for a bit, and rewarding your kids for good behavior is an easy way to get smiling faces in your photo. You can even cleverly work your bribery into the picture by taking some cute family photos around the kitchen with some freshly baked holiday treats, and letting your family sample their bribes.
Photo Editing Software
Once you have the shots taken, you can improve them a lot with some simple editing. You don’t necessarily need Photoshop to touch up your photos, and there are a number of good free photo editing alternatives available online. Programs like Fotor, Picmonkey or even Google Picasa can provide fairly robust imaging editing at no cost, and with little expertise needed. Simple touches like closely cropping your photos or playing with exposure and saturation settings can make your family photos shine.
Guest post by Mike Cushing who is a freelance writer for Gadget Infinity, your online destination for digital camera accessories and photo tutorials this holiday season. @gadgetinfinity
Photo credit Photo-Studio.kz
For your holiday preparations, you may also wish to read 10 Educational Stocking Stuffers