How to take fantastic holiday season photos

December 19, 2019

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Take fantastic photos this holiday season

The holidays are almost here along with many opportunities to take fantastic holiday season photos of your family and friends. Don’t wait until mid-event to think about the photos you will take of your friends and family! If you are unprepared, you will have a 50% chance that the results will be something you can proudly revisit for years to come. Sadly, there is also a 50% chance the results will include double chins, eyes closed and so many selfies that your time connecting will be lost on endless retakes. Lucky Girl Prints wants to help improve your odds! So, we compiled some tips for capturing the excitement this holiday season.

Fantastic holiday season photos

Height takes your holiday season photos to the next level

The right camera angle and height can make a big difference. Let’s say Aunt Barb is self-conscious about having her picture taken because she hates any sign of a double chin. The simple solution is to raise your camera and have her tip her chin upwards a bit. Voila! Double chin is gone (or at least minimized) and you can now boast that you are Aunt Barb’s favorite niece or nephew. When she wants to get a picture with you, use a selfie stick and follow the same method.

Have a large family or big tribe of friends? Reach new heights when taking large group shots. You don’t need to be at a bird’s eye view, just a slight elevation to ensure everyone can be seen in the photo. Don’t hesitate to grab a step stool or place your tripod off the ground.  This year nobody will be the half face in the background that you kind of think you know but can’t be sure.

Holiday season photos

It’s not always about being tall. Sometimes it helps to get low, especially when taking pictures of children. When you take the time to get down to their level, small details that often go unnoticed come into focus. These photos highlight little fingers, toes and everything else precious about youthful joy. Watching a little one open a gift is all about the excitement and emotion, right, so try to capture joy as they open their gifts. You will love the results so much more than the posed photo with the toy after it has been opened. Getting low works well for pets also.  Our pets are a part of the family, so be sure to include them in your photos.  

Large Gatherings are the perfect thing for holiday season photos

When you have a large family, it can be a challenge to get a photo of every person. Take some time beforehand to prepare. You can jot down your groupings or just do a quick mental rundown of how you can best group attendees. Try to break it up by snapping small groups like cousins, siblings, grandchildren with grandma, etc. Is this the first time in years that your aunts and uncles are together? Sounds like a group photo of those siblings are a must. Are your Great grandma, grandma, mother and daughter all in attendance? Don’t miss this opportunity to take a photo of 5 generations together.

If you can, gather everyone together in one shot, place your camera on a tripod at a slight elevation. Feel free to bring in chairs and have family members sit on the floor to give height variation and keep from having blocked smiles. Keep the background simple and find a well-lit space so nobody is hidden in the shadows. Avoid using flashes (see our next section on lighting).

It’s pretty much common sense that you should take multiple photos. A tip to try out is to take several smile shots (say cheese) and when the smiles start to look forced or little ones become antsy, switch to a silly pose and then immediately go right back to a smile pose. Breaking it up usually results in more natural smiles after the silly pose. Who knows, the silly pose may end up being the favored shot in the end, so have fun with it.  

holiday season photos

Lighting – the more natural the better

Avoid using your camera’s flash whenever possible. Instead, rely on natural lighting. Open the curtains and let the sun provide you with your main lighting source for your holiday season photos. Even on an overcast day, the natural light will be more complementary than artificial light. Once night arrives and you can no longer rely on the sun, use room lights over a flash. The holidays can pose an additional challenge with multiple lighting in one room. For example, there could be a fire going in the fireplace, the Christmas tree, lamps, candles, television and ceiling lights all on at the same time in one space.  When possible, try to only have one main light source when photographing indoors. Shadows and discoloration are the result of competing artificial light sources. If your image looks “off,” try to minimize or reduce light sources until you have the right combination.  

Keep your holiday season photo backgrounds simple

If you take the time to intentionally pose for holiday season photos, make sure there aren’t other distractions in the image. If you can, take a minute before shooting the picture to look for trouble items and declutter the space (or find a clutter free space). Things like lamp plug ins and cords or the commercial on the television are common examples of distractions. It may take snapping the first photo to see these items but taking a second to look at the photo with a discerning eye will help you see it in time to correct and re-shoot. If you end up missing something and it bothers you later, you can always try to crop it or edit it with software like Photoshop.

Don’t stress about your backgrounds too much. Keep it simple. You want your subject to be the star of the photo, so having too many items can be a distraction. A simple wreath on the wall or fireplace mantle are nice backdrops. If the goal is to capture decorations, take photos without other people or things in the picture so that they are clearly the focus of the photo.  

What to do next with your holiday season photos

Now that you have captured the magic of this holiday season, what should you do with your pictures? If nothing else, organize your digital photos so you have quick access in the future. Save them under specific details along with keywords and metadata for quick and easy future access.

While you are looking through the holiday season photos captured, why not take a minute more to bring the images to life?  Perhaps a New Year greeting card or calendar with your group photo? Print a photo and send it with each thank you card. A canvas or wall décor are great ways to display your family time together. A collage of the highlights from the holidays can be made and sent to loved ones that missed this year, so that they can feel like they were a part of the day. It takes only minutes to create a photo book to have on the shelf for easy access all-year-round. Right now, Lucky Girl Prints is offering free shipping with promotion code HOHO25 through December 31, 2019. For more gift giving ideas, check out our blog, “The Ultimate Gift Giving Ideas for (Literally!) Everyone on Your List.” 

From Lucky Girl Prints, Happy photo snapping and Happy Holidays!

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