By Dawnye Appel
Getting cards in the mail from loved ones is a special delight that comes with every holiday season. And, we all love documenting the the joy we experience while gathering with our loved ones.
Whether you want to have a hand at capturing a great family photo for your own cards or candid photos for the Christmas scrapbook, here are some pointers to help you get the best results from your camera and the kind of pictures you want to show the world.
Set up your camera with the self-timer or use a remote control to snap the photo. If you don’t have a tripod or self-timer, get together with a friend and snap the shots for each other. Tis the season to help others, right?
Candy canes, shatter-proof ornaments, holiday-themed stuffed animals, decked-out Christmas trees, holiday storybooks. The options are limited only to what you can imagine.
A Christmas tree lot, downtown after Christmas lights are hung, in a park or recreational area with lots of trees, in the backyard after a snowfall. Whatever you do, make sure the area in the background is free of anything distracting. This could include cars, play equipment or toys, telephone poles, other people, brightly colored or painted items. As long as you find a clear and pretty background, you will have a great shot.
Good lighting makes for glorious shots. The best time to photograph without using artificial lighting is right after dawn or an hour before dusk. These are known as the “golden hours” and will make photos have that beautiful golden glow that is popular among contemporary professional photographers. If this cannot be done, avoid “high noon” time when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, generally 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Additionally if you are in a shady area, make sure the shade isn’t casting unflattering shadows on anyone’s face. If you opt to take the photos inside, open the windows and let in all the light you can get. The time of day will be less important as windows act as natural light diffusers and you won’t get harsh shadows. But, be sure to get that light in because if it’s too dark, your photos will be dark, grainy or blurry, and no one wants that.
Groups or individual shots
Many places that offer templates for Christmas cards also offer multi-image options. This gives the customer options too; so take a few shots of the group, some of the parents, some of the kids together and each kid alone. Then, when it comes time to craft your card, you will for sure create something you love.
Candid or posed?
Sometimes people focus on getting perfectly posed pictures. However, catching the little ones having fun and enjoying the holiday is just as important, if not more so. Capture smiles and hugs, the joys of opening gifts, cookies getting gobbled and family spending time together. Sure, set up a few posed and smiley photos, but don’t forget about grabbing shots of what makes the season special.
So much time goes into decorating it would be a shame not to snap a few shots of the work that was done — special ornaments on the tree, crafts the kiddos made, the stack of pretty wrapped gifts, the stockings hung with care. Getting detail shots only adds to the memories that can be shared with absent family members or to fill photo albums or scrapbooks.