The holidays are here and it’s a time where everyone is taking photos! Whether you’re just snapping pics with your smartphone or DSLR, here are a few things we think you should know.
We don’t want to just tell your to adjust your angle or shift your body for a better perspective, so here are 7 technical tips that will actually help you take amazing photos this holiday season!
1) Use Burst/Drive Mode For Family/Group Photos
Burst mode (sometimes called Drive mode) allows you to take several photos within a matter of seconds and will continue to do take photos until the shutter is released. This is great for family/group photos because it gives you extra shots just in case anyone was moving or had their eyes closed. For most cameras and smartphones (depending on the make and model), they have the ability of taking about 3-10 photos per second when using burst mode.
2) Use A Wide-Angle Lens
It may be a good idea to leave your 50mm prime lens at home as many holiday gatherings are in tight spaces with a lot of people. This won’t give you much room to move around, so bringing a lens that’s around 14-24mm and it’ll give you the ability to see more. A wider lens also means you can fit more people in your frame for group shots. For those photographers who will be using their phone, there’s not much to worry about in terms of the focal length as most smartphone cameras are around 20mm.
3) Use A Fast Shutter Speed To Avoid Motion Blur Your Potraits
To avoid any kind of motion blur from your subject moving in your shots, we suggest using a shutter speed of at least 1/125. You’ll find this particularly helpful when photographing kids and pets who may have a hard time staying still. For those shooting with your smartphone, many models now have the ability to shoot in “Sport Mode” or have a manual/advanced mode that will allow you to manually adjust your shutter speed.
4) Christmas Lights Offer Great Bokeh Opportunities
All the decorations and lights will provide you with the ability to create really interesting bokeh. Be sure to create more space between your subject and your background (either by moving your subject to create space, or shorten the distance between you and your subject) for better blurrier bokeh. This is especially important if you want to capture portraits with a nice blurry background!
5) Don’t Use Flash If You Can; If It’s Too Dark, Use An External Camera Flash
Often times the flash will create a harsh light causing your photos to look very unprofessional and unflattering. Adjust your settings to avoid using a flash, but we know this might not be possible. In a situation where you need to use a flash, be sure to not point the flash directly at your subject. Alternatively, you can take your external flash off your camera and try to bounce the light off various objects, walls etc. Remember that the point of your flash is to provide more light within your scene, so by bouncing your light from your flash off another wall (or even piece of white bristol board), it will create a much softer light source and help illuminate the room more.
6) Shooting Outdoors? Remember To Adjust Your Settings To Capture White The Snow!
To make sure the snow in your photo doesn’t have a tinge of gray, yellow, blue or even purple, try over exposing your photos. You can do this by setting a higher ISO or by simply adjusting your exposure compensation to +0.3 EV or higher. Feel free to check out more tips about taking photos outdoors this holiday in our blog post: “8 Tips For Winter Photography“.
7) How To Avoid Red-Eyes
Don’t use flash! This will help you avoid any possibilities of getting red-eyes in your photo. You still may run into this issue, if there is direct light from a lamp or spotlight shining onto the subject. Simply shift their position before taking the photo so the light source isn’t shining directly at your subject. Alternatively, Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop have great red-eye correction tools!
8) Don’t Forget About Candid Shots!
This may be a simple tip, but often times forgotten when you’re scrambling to get everyone together for group photos. Candids really help capture emotions and the atmosphere of the celebrations! Be sure to snap a few candids and you’re family will definitely appreciate the photos. Also remember that there are amazing look food, decorations and more during the holidays too that deserve photos.
Happy Holidays everyone!
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