How do you capture joy? It’s like trying to hold water in your hands, right? And during the holidays, the joyful moments are genuine, unexpected, sometimes fleeting and if you’re especially unfortunate, some snap-happy-novice will try to capture the moments of joy for posterity before you’ve had your coffee or brushed your hair or when you’re mid-bite into the morning casserole or eyes-closed-posing-by-the-fireplace or worst of all? Caught at a terribly unflattering angle from below in bad lighting making a horrible face.
(Any and all photography shot from below another human’s sightline should be banished from the world forever, but that’s another matter, that maybe even calls for another blog post? Hmmm.)
Alas, as the holiday season is upon us, we have some tips for taking better holiday photos. So let the festivities begin! Because this year, you’ll be ready for them.
Anticipate the Moment
Have your camera on, focused and ready. Whether a child opening a gift, a group shot or a candid moment of real, true laughter, if you’re not prepared to snap the shutter when it happens, it’s gone. Moral of the story? Be ready for the moment and it’s yours forever. And snap away! Take lots of shots as the action is happening. You never know when you might capture a gem. You’ll never regret taking too many photos, only too few!
Camera flash can produce flat, cold light. And that’s the last thing we want when capturing such a warm, bright, happy time of the year filled with love and cookies made by Aunt Edna. Look for natural light. Whether the subjects are your second cousins or your 15 cats, a portrait near a window will produce a shot that’s much warmer and more complimentary.
Go for a spirit-filled still life. Your subject doesn’t have to be human to have a holiday vibe. Splashes of color, shining menorahs, boughs of holly, decorations on a tree and lots of other holiday décor can capture the essence of the holidays in an artistic style.
Plus, these make great options to frame up and swap into rotation on your walls as the holidays draw close next year. It’s an easy do-it-yourself way to deck the halls. And you get to brag about your wonderful photography to all of your holiday guests!
Sometimes, to capture a magical moment, you gotta lose your center. Play with the rule of thirds and move your camera until the main subject is off to the side. Perhaps balance them with a beautiful, flickering candle or sparkling Christmas Tree in the background. For more on the rule of thirds, check out this article by Expert Photography!