Creating the perfect holiday picture takes more than grabbing the camera and sitting everyone down on the couch. Planning ahead what you want your picture to say, when and where you will be able to find pleasing light, and if you need to bring anything else into the picture, will improve your picture. Like any other skill photography takes practice. Plan ahead so that if it doesn’t work out the first time you have time to figure out what went wrong and try again another day.
There are a lot of little things that can be done to add visual interest or improve the quality of your picture.
- Change your perspective. Lie down on your stomach or stand on a step ladder so that the picture is a different angle than we’re use to seeing.
- Pay attention to hands, feet, and tops of heads to make sure they are included if you are taking a full length picture. Keep in mind that it’s easy to crop in closer later (I’ll talk about cropping more tomorrow) but not to add in feet or fingers if they are cut off in the picture.
- Use a tripod. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to help improve your pictures. I’ve picked up a tripod at neighborhood grocery store when I was in a pinch and it was sufficient for what I needed.
- Take your time. Being patient and waiting for the right moment when everything falls into place is worth the few moments it takes. Take several shots, but put a little time into each one.
- Pictures don’t have to be all smiles. In some of my favorite pictures no one is smiling, some of them even have tears. Having everyone relaxed and happy will show through in your picture more than stiff bodies and a forced smile.
One tip that a good friend shared with me that I had a hard time accepting is that it is important to let go of the perfectionism. In every picture something could have changed to make it more appealing somehow but that doesn’t mean the picture, as it is, doesn’t have value of its own. Plan, practice, and then let go of the imperfections.