Top Tips for your Christmas Portraits

Well it’s here again! Christmas, in essence a fun time for most people. Family gatherings are a regular occurrence and  that gives us a great opportunity to take some photos. So here are a few pointers.

  1. Plan ahead. Make sure that you are ready. If you spend time gathering people together make sure you are all set to go when they are. Check the camera battery, memory card and camera settings.
  2. Pick your spot beforehand, then pick a 2nd spot. It’s amazing how spots disappear just when you want to use them. Work out what time of the day the shoot will most likely take place. Outside is usually best because the light is better, there’s more space and the backgrounds are usually better. Try to have the background so that it’s not busy or complicated and make sure your subjects are not looking into the sun so as to avoid squinting.
  3. Work out who will be in the photo. Are the many people, kids, tall people, older people, wheelchairs? Organise some chairs, milk-crates, spots on the grass, use a wall. You want to vary people’s heights and not have everyone in a long line. If there are grandparents in the shot, I like to put them in the middle and have everyone around them, after all, they started the ball rolling!
  4. Use a tripod. This is  a winner. Maybe more of a drama but certainly worth it. It allows you to better construct the photo, the camera doesn’t move so you can reposition people and know that the changes will be reflected as you wish. It also allows the shooter to be in the photo, this adds a bit of fun. The tripod will always produce a sharper photo.
  5. Take lots of photos! Hey it’s digital! Don’t take them all the same way, move people around and re-shoot. Do the main or largest group first but it’s always good to mix it up a bit. Shoot all the sisters, do a generation shot of granddad, dad and son. All the cousins etc. kids are always great because they are always changing. One thing I always do when I'm shooting. When I think I'm finished ( in other words the job is finished) I take some more photos. These are often something different