Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos

Tulsa Photographers Ashley Thompson and Jenny Collier formerly made up Mamarazzi of Tulsa. Moms themselves, they teach other moms how to capture their children during the everyday moments while learning to master their digital SLR cameras.

Q: During holiday breaks, many people get together with extended family. Do you have any tips for getting great photos of several generations? 

A: Lighting is everything with photography. We suggest going outside to the front or back porch to the open shade. If you’re shooting a larger group, you can increase the aperture (or F-Stop) which allows more of your frame to be in focus. For those that do not know how to shoot in manual mode we suggest turning your camera to “AV” mode and increasing the number. The rule of thumb is F4 for around four people, F8 for around eight people, and so on.

Ashley suggests getting your subjects to laugh out loud. This will ensure genuine smiles. Be sure to get them in close, hug, smile and really enjoy each other.

Q: We’ve all seen the “Awkward Family Photos” website. How do we avoid the pitfalls of looking back on our photos and being embarrassed by them? 

A: We advise our students to capture the details and personalities of our subjects in a photojournalistic style. When you focus on capturing natural smiles, laughter and the details of the day, you avoid the look of a cheesy portrait session.

Q: What is the best way to get a “relaxed” photo of children, so things don’t look too posed. 

A: Avoid telling your child to say cheese! Capture the details and the process of opening presents before, finally asking your child to look up and smile. Children get burnt out very quickly when it comes to sitting still and smiling. They should almost not notice you snapping away as you document the day.

Some other tips we suggest are: 

  • Turn off the flash!
  • Open up all of the windows in the space in which you are shooting.
  • Put your back to the light source and place your child so that he or she is facing the window, sliding glass door, etc.
  • If you are a digital SLR user and don’t know how to shoot in manual mode, place the dial on “P” (portrait mode) which will naturally choose a low aperture for you. A low aperture allows for more light to be let in through your camera and gives you that beautiful blurry background.
  • Get on your child’s level. If there is one thing we repeat it’s this: cameras don’t take good photos, people do. It is essential to get to know your camera and some of what it can do to create great photographs. It might seem daunting at first but it’s worth the effort.
Categories: Holiday, Parents’ Place Featured