How to Take Decent Holiday Photos Without Forcing Anyone to Wear Matching Pajamas

The proliferation of the Omicron variant may have made your vacation plans difficult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the holiday photos you want (the ones your family has). And while it can be difficult to feel happy this year (again), you might appreciate recording your second pandemic Christmas years in the future.

But we’re not talking about awkward, posed photos of everyone in the same pajamas, positioned high in front of the tree or on the stairs: the idea here is to capture real moments from real life. Here are some expert tips on how to do it.

Eat cheese, don’t say cheese

Consider yourself a documentary filmmaker, says Simon Ringsmouth of the School of Digital Photography . Pay attention to your surroundings and take pictures of people talking, opening gifts, laughing or drinking. Let the photos speak for themselves by telling the story of what happened in the room that day.

To go down

When photographing children, pets, or other objects close to the ground, Ringsmouth advises to lower yourself to eye level. “Your shots will be more personal, interesting and [more] memorable,” he writes on his blog .

Turn off overhead lighting

Any photographs you take indoors will depend on the light sources in the room, including lamps, a Christmas tree, or a fireplace fire. This is why Erin Brooks, photographer and contributor to The Sweet Setup, recommends always turning off the overhead light – day or night, regardless of the type of camera you’re using. Overhead lighting can change the tone of colors in a photo and cast strange shadows on people and objects in it.

Compose your shot before shooting

The idea here is to frame your subject using whatever is in the room or nearby. To do this, Brooks advises looking for lines for framing, which can include things like walls, beams, Christmas trees, candles, wood floors, picture frames, windows, etc. shot [to make sure] such lines are not crooked. ” she adds on her blog for The Sweet Setup .

Disable flash and adjust ISO

This tip from Ringsmouth takes a little more effort, but addresses issues that come with flash (eg demon eyes, blurry people, strange coloration, etc.). First, check if your camera (or the camera on your phone ) gives you the ability to adjust the ISO (the number that corresponds to your camera’s sensitivity to light). If not, sorry – this is not an option for you.

If so, turn off the flash first and then raise the ISO. “The higher the ISO, the brighter the image becomes, and the sharper the image becomes, because a high ISO will allow your camera to slow down the shutter speed,” he explains .

But don’t overdo it or increase the ISO too much, as this can make your photos look grainy. Although, according to Ringsmouth , most modern cameras will produce decent photos at ISO settings of 3200 or 6400, especially if you plan on only printing 4×6 images or posting them online.

Finally, he recommends practicing and getting comfortable with the ISO settings beforehand so you don’t have to rack your brains on how to do it or miss out on the shots you want to capture.


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