5 Tips to Make Your Holiday Photos Shine

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When family gathers for the holiday, it’s time to make those holiday photos shine. Do you have a hard time capturing those holiday photos? Chop someone’s head off? Have a tree growing out of someone else’s head? Shadows hiding faces?

Check out these five tips to make your holiday photos shine.

1. Check the background.

toddler boy playing with Christmas balls outside on a rug

Photo: Glenda Thompson

After you get everyone lined up the way you want them, take a second to scan the image in your view finder. Corner to corner, top to bottom, make sure everything you want is in the viewfinder and anything you don’t, isn’t.

2. Even head-to-toe lighting

Father and infant daughter

Photo: Glenda Thompson

Avoid shadows by making sure you have even head-to-toe lighting. If necessary, have everyone under a cover like a porch patio. Avoid shooting photos outdoors between noon and 3 p.m. when the sunlight is harsh.

Dusk and dawn provide the best outdoor light. Shooting directly into the sun can be effective but only if your subject is completely blocking the sun from your view. If there is too much backlight, though, you will end up with silhouettes.

3. Have Fun and Tell a Story

pregnant woman holding hands with husband

Photo: Glenda Thompson

Every photo does not have to be posed. Let your subjects walk away from the camera. Swing the kids around. Have breakout sessions with just the kids, or just mom and dad. Give the kids something to play with. Hold hands, jump in the air, wiggle around, then freeze. You don’t even have to capture faces.

4. Big Groups

four generation family photo

Photo: Glenda Thompson

If you have a big group, keep everyone’s feet on a straight line. This will help avoid the people in front being in focus and the ones in the back blurry. Place six to eight people in each row. If you have one to two rows, focus on the front row, center person. Three to four rows? Focus on the second row, center person.

5. Change your perspective.

close up of little boy in a santa hat

Photo: Glenda Thompson

Don’t always place your subject dead center. Divide your viewfinder into thirds vertically and horizontally. Place your subject at one of the intersections and give them room to move through the image.

Get down on the floor so you are at eye level with children. Stand on a ladder and shoot down on your subject. Move yourself and your camera around your subject and see how different things look closer and further away.