Paul D'Andrea Photography

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.

Commercial photographer in Indianapolis, IN.