Ok, you're ready to take your family holiday photo. You've followed some of the tips in part 1 (see blog post below), even the part that helps you look 10 pounds lighter! The better half, kids and dog are in place, and then it hits you: What do I do now? Here's a few tips on what to do camera-wise to get that important shot...
1. Especially if you need to be in the photo, say hello to our 3 legged friend the tripod! A PopPhoto Magazine survey says that 70% of DSLR owners also own a tripod, but everybody who owns any type of camera should own a tripod, if only for the purpose of getting into the photo! You can use a wireless remote control to activate the camera when you're ready, or you can find the camera's self timer function to give yourself 2 or 10 seconds to get into the picture.
2.Get close to your subject – Zoom or move in close to fill the viewfinder/ LCD screen with your subject(s) except to include any background that would lend with the season (like the Christmas tree or decorated fireplace).
3. Put on your director's cap – This is not a time to be shy. When I shoot professionally, my daughter's job during the shoot is to round up the troops & position them in the best order for an eye pleasing shot (she's good at it, too!). Take a moment to tell where your family should sit or stand & come closer to fit into the picture.
4. Take some candids as well – Some of the best photos taken of your family can be taken when they're acting naturally, unaware of the camera's presence.
5. Get down to eye level! – When photographing children, kneel down or sit on the floor. It’s better many times to shoot from a level position to your subject than from above. When taking a family sitting on a couch or at a dinner table, shoot at the eye level of those seated.
6. Consider the whole picture! – Before shooting, check out how a scene looks in your viewfinder or LCD screen. Is the background too busy? Is a lamp or tree coming out the top of someone’s head? If so, shoot from another angle or ask your subject to move to a different location.
7. Take more than 1 photo, please!– Increase your chances of getting that great photograph by taking a few shots of the same scene or subject. Otherwise, Grandma may not be happy that you got her looking away from the camera or the twins pulling each other's hair!
As for what camera setting to use, try the "portrait" mode in your point & shoot or DSLR. Depending on the camera, it will focus on up to 12 subjects in the photograph for a sharp, in focus shot and will blur the background (a little bokeh) to emphasize the faces in the shot.
I hope this helps you get the holiday photo everybody will talk about in 2014. We're here to help as well, so don't hesitate to call, email, tweet or drop us a note on Facebook. (Holiday Card Images Courtesy of HP)