Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reminder: Get your holiday card pictures now!

Do you ever make it to November and think, "Why didn't I get a family picture when the weather was nicer?!" The weather might not present a problem for you in the fall and winter like it does for me in Michigan, but the closer you get to the holidays, the harder it still seems to get that perfect picture for your holiday card.

So, here's your reminder to do it now! You can contact your favorite photographer to get professional portraits taken, or use the tips below to get one on your own.

1. If you haven't already browsed through my holiday designs, do that ahead of time. Sometimes, having the design in mind when you're taking the picture helps!

2. Encourage eye contact. Hold the camera at the eye level of your subjects. With kids, that means you might have to squat down or even lay on the ground. If you're on their level, your kids don't need to be looking directly at the camera to get the eye contact you need.

3. Watch out for clutter in the background of your photo. When you look through the viewfinder, be sure there aren't any extra people in the background or poles sticking out of anyone's head! Make sure the background is neutral and not busy.

4. Leave plenty of room around your kids or family for cropping. So often, people send photos that don't work in their favorite design because the subject is already cropped too tight in the picture. Leave enough space around them to allow more options for designs.

5. The most important part of every picture is the light. Shoot in indirect sunlight. Direct sun can cast harsh shadows and create an image with boy overexposed and underexposed areas. Try to take pictures early or late in the day. During the middle of the day, look for a shady area with indirect light.

6. Use a tripod. Sure, you don't want to lug that thing around everywhere, but pull it out for your family photo. You can set the timer on your camera so you can be in it too! Also, photos taken on a tripod are often more crisp because you eliminate hand shake.

7. Become the director of your photo session. Tell your kids what to do and arrange them. Most people feel awkward just standing in front of the camera so give them direction. With kids, play games and tell jokes to get them to laugh.

8. RELAX! If your kids aren't cooperating, just take candid shots of them playing games or goofing off. Sometimes those turn out to be the best photos!

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