Holiday Photo Tips

With all of the gatherings with friends and family, the holiday season is rife with opportunities to take pictures. But how do you get them just right for sharing and future reminiscing? Below I offer some holiday photo tips to help you achieve the perfect shots:

Christmas Ornament

Framing Your Subject: Rule of Thirds

Where you place your subjects in a frame greatly affects the overall balance. Keeping the Rule of Thirds in mind can help you add more visual appeal to your image, as well as add clarity to your subject. Divide your frame into three equal parts both horizontally and vertically, and place your subjects at the points of intersection. Or, place your horizon (or tabletop) on one of the third lines. This set up allows you to add a bit more information to the image while making it naturally pleasing to the eye.

Christmas Ornament

Find an Interesting Background

Naturally you are excited to take a picture of your favorite family member or the fun happenings going on around you, but before you shoot, check out what else is going on – namely, the background. Taking a photograph of a nice wintery scene behind your holiday lights will make a much more pleasing photo than one that highlights your messy kitchen. Everything within the frame affects the final outcome, so pay attention to more than the main subject.

Christmas Family Portrait

Group Family Photos

We all know to put the tall people in the back and to place the matriarch and patriarch in the middle for group family photos. However, there is even more you can do to take an impactful shot. Back up a bit to keep people away from the edges of your camera, as some models have a distortion that will make those people look stretched out. Many people make the mistake of placing a group in front of a picture window; it’s a nice background, but it ends up making the group too dark. Place lights to YOUR back, not your subject’s back, to allow them to be lit. If you are taking pics outside, avoid direct sunlight because it washes people out and makes them squint. Try to find a space with open shade, such as the edge of a shady area. Don’t place people under trees – you will not see their faces. Using the edge of a building that is shedding light outward is another great way to use indirect light.   

Candid Photos

The secret to capturing those fun or intimate moments between family members in an authentic way is patience. So much is happening – fun conversations, games, or even cooking together; patiently hanging out with your camera and being ready when you see someone getting excited means you will be able to document the smiling and laughing when they get to the height of the fun. Picture-taking has to be purposeful yet not staged. You are looking to gather the special experience, not setting people up in fake moments.

I hope these tips add to your enjoyment of your holiday season. You can reach out to me here with any questions.

Colors at M10

M10, the studio I run with partners Steve Brokaw and Eric Schoch is moving! Bursting at the seams, we have taken an opportunity to expand into a new space in the Circle City Industrial Complex, right around the corner from our original location. To celebrate the move, I will be presenting work from my Colors project.

Colors is a lighthearted romp in the studio. A collaborative project involving the skills of body painters, models, and photographer to create a compelling body of images loosely exploring the emotional and cultural impact of color.

Come on out to the Circle City Industrial Complex on Friday March 1st to celebrate M10’s move to a new space (and the one year anniversary of my going full time with photography). While there, take some time to visit the rest of the artists in the CCIC.

For a sneak peek at the work, check out

Libertine Hub Crawl

One of the evenings’ events during Connections was a “Hub Crawl”, basically a pub crawl but with a marketing twist. This image is from The Libertine, one of the stops on the crawl.

Casey Connor at The Crane Bay

Here’s another image from ExactTarget’s Connections. Casey put on a fantastic show.

The Fray at Victory Field

I photographed ExactTarget‘s Connections conference this week. One of the events was a private concert of The Fray at Victory Field. You couldn’t ask for a cooler backdrop here in Indy, so I worked at getting an image of the stage, the skyline, and the weather (the rain held off just long enough for the concert, perfect timing).

June’s First Friday

Just a quick blurb here, the studio and gallery I run with fellow photographers Steve Brokaw and Eric Schoch will be open this coming First Friday, June 1st.

This month I’ll have the main stage with new work from the set “Feathers and Fur”.  The images are in the slide show you see behind this blog post.

If you’re out and about on Friday, swing by!  If not, consider making the trip out to the Circle City Industrial Complex.  We’ll have wine and cheese, music, new photography from me, plus work from Eric and Steve.  We’ll be open from 6 to 10.

Here are details and directions to M10.

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