How to Take Better Holiday Pictures

Well, the holiday season is over and the photos are back from the lab.  As you look over your Holiday pictures you may start to wonder, “Why don’t my pictures look like a shoot from W magazine?”  I’m here to tell you in order to get interesting pictures you must start do do something different.  I will describe in this article a few quick easy tips anyone can follow to make your holiday pics more interesting, more beautiful, and more fun to look at again and again.


A major reason so many holiday pictures look the same is because everybody is doing the same thing:  They are documenting an event, but only in the same way an insurance agent might document vehicle damage.  We will discuss how to add Art and feeling to your holiday images.  How many times have you heard this one, “Okay everybody, get together, now look at the camera, now smile! Click, got it.”  Boring!

Here are six simple rules to follow next time your family gets together:

Rule #1) Don’t pose pictures!

Or at least take more unposed, or “candid”, shots than posed ones.  Take pictures of people acting naturally, even if they are not smiling!


Rule #2) Turn that flash off!

The camera flash can “flatten” an image, giving it a bland lighting that covers everything the same.  Natural light, on the other hand, can give an image depth and diversity by it’s very nature and how it exposes.  If you are shooting indoors increase your film speed setting to avoid camera blur.  Some Automatic camera have nighttime landscape setting that you can use or use the nighttime portrait setting and suppress the flash.  If you are still getting blurry images use the nighttime portrait setting with flash on.  this will expose with natural light and with flash which still allows for more depth. Take people outside on some pretense if you have to, “let’s get some fresh air”, but resist the urge to pose pictures!

Rule # 4)  Move your subject out of the middle of the picture!

Try different angles.  Get low with children.  See my Article on the rule of thirds for  details on advanced composition.

Rule #5) Get closer!

Details, details details.  You can really get a better feeling of emotion from a closer portrait than a wide shot.

Rule #6) Wait for it!

This is probably the most important rule, as it applies to all the previous rules, especially Rule #1.  Keep your camera in your hand or close by.  Have your settings ready and checked for lighting.  Occasionally pic up the camera and look through the viewfinder.  Try to “see” a great shot.  Got it?  Shoot it!  Not so great?  Wait!

There you go.  Try some of these tips out and I hope you get some really great shots!




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