Posts Tagged ‘natural light’

With Halloween almost behind us and Thanksgiving just around the corner, mamas and papas are starting to think about holiday family portraits. Yes indeed! From ugly Christmas tree sweaters from the 90s to sweet velvet red dresses and ho, ho, ho hats, I wanted to pass along a few useful tips I learned on how to take a family photo for your holiday card this year!

Holiday family portraits are great to give as gifts, put inside greeting cards, or use on the greeting cards themselves.

Here are my tips to make them memorable:

1.      Make sure the kids are rested. Every parent knows and loves that magical time when their kids are in a great mood, so make sure you scheduled photo time hits that sweet spot. Have everyone eat a light snack before the picture taking begins; however, choose your snack food wisely since heavy greasy food can cause drowsiness and sugary food can cause, well, you know – sugar high craziness!

2.      Natural Lighting is great.  Shooting with natural lighting gives great color to photos, however it only gives you two windows to take the photos, early morning or late afternoon. Arrange everyone so the sun is behind them. This creates a nice hair light and adds depth to the shot, as well as helps to avoid squinting.

3.      Coordinate, but don’t be too matchy.  I never thought of this tip, but it’s pretty obvious.  Dress every family member in the same color or outfit.

4.      Avoid the plaids and patterns. That’s right! Go for solids – stripes, plaids or other patterns can be too distracting.

5.     Go Casual. If you get all dressed up and everyone is looking stiff and like a wax mannequin, your portrait won’t look natural and almost like a museum oil painting. If your child’s tie is a little crooked or someone is making a sweet, but funny face, go with it!

6.      Your family, not the background is the most important subject of your photokeep your backdrop simple! It doesn’t need to be in front of the tree or fireplace. Mix it up where you take your photo – and don’t try to fit in more of the background than your family. What have been your most unexpected favorite photograph backgrounds? If you will be including your pets in the photo, be sure to create a special location for them to sit. Or have someone hold them so they will be still.

7.      Get closer than you think.  A great tip for any beginning photographer is to get closer.  Try getting closer than you think and compare the photo results.

8.      That’s a wrap! The most important tip to remember is that family photo shoots should be fun for the whole family. Christmas holiday portraits are a great way to capture your family that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

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IMG_0057-correctedLike any mom I’m always on the lookout for tricks to make the photos I take of my child truly reflect how cute and special she can be. Children just don’t always cooperate, do they? I thought I would share a few pointers I have gathered to improve those home photos.

The best light is natural light, especially the time just after sunrise or right before sunset. The midday sun causes harsh shadows, and a squinting child is not as cute!  For indoor shots try placing your child near a window, or setting up additional lights to reduce shadows.

Preparing the space:
When taking a ‘posed’ shot keep the area clear, so you and your baby can move around easily.  Keep it simple; using a solid color blanket is always a good backdrop.

No matter what your child’s personality might be, you always want to capture a moment that truly reflects your child.  If you have a stubborn youngster (like mine) a smile may not be in the cards. Try for that perfect candid shot, when your baby is truly engaged with an activity.  You may not get a shot looking directly at the camera, but the lens might capture that peaceful little angel you know and love. When children are really excited you may catch the smile, but watch those quick movers you might get an image that is blurry.  Many point-and-click cameras have a setting for action – you get a better chance to truly ‘capture the moment!’ For little babies try catching them while sleeping, you can even pose them and really catch a sweet expression.  For older children pull out the camera when it is their ‘best time of day’ – don’t wait until they are tired.

Great photographers take many photos to get the perfect shot. As an amateur you need to keep on clicking – including shots from all different angles, with different lighting and experimenting with setting you haven’t tried out on your camera. Zoom in on hands, feet and eyes or try coaxing a natural expression by asking them to show you a favorite toy.

Just remember…Have Fun!

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