photographing thanksgiving

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Want to improve your holiday photographs this year? Seven tips to get you started!

Identify the subject. Before you take the shot, ask yourself this question: “What’s the subject of my photo?”
Is it the turkey, the spread, carving the turkey, grandma, the kids? If you have a clear idea of what subject you want to capture with each shot, you will be better able to focus on and capture the subject.

Frame your subject. Focus in on your subject. If there are any distractions in back of your subject, move them, reposition your subject, or reposition yourself to help minimize the distractions.

Change your point of view. A photo of the family at the table might be better shot a little higher than the eye-level of the tallest person in the scene. Photos of the children can benefit from crouching down to shoot at their level, rather than down at them. Experiment with different angles.

Posed and Candid Shots Pose family members for some shots. Take multiple photos of family members in small groups. The more people in your photos, the more photos you may have to take to compensate for problems like closed eyes, heads turned away from the camera, etc. For natural, candid photographs, take photos of family members talking, raising their glasses, having fun.

Get in Close Most people have a tendency to stand back when taking a photo. Take a couple of steps towards your subject. Get in close to capture a child’s face next to grandma and grandpa’s. The result will be more personal photos that draw the viewer into the scene and elicit a more emotional connection to the subject. Plan to take a photo of the turkey being carved? Get in close to the food too! Try a few shots focused on the knife slicing through the turkey or a close-up of a piece of apple pie.

Light up the Room You can always use flash indoors, but it can flatten out color or create harsh lighting situations. First try to use indoor or natural lighting. Turn on as many lights in the room as possible, or position subjects near a window to take advantage of natural lighting. (Remember to shoot away from the window for proper exposure.) If your camera allows, try increasing your ISO to avoid flash use. To obtain truer colors, use an appropriate white balance preset (for sunlight, incandescent light, flash, etc.) if your camera allows. If you use your flash, remain within the recommended flash range. Avoid shooting towards shiny objects or windows that will reflect the light back at the lens.

Get in the photo! It’s easy to get in the photo yourself. A tripod or level surface to keep your camera steady is a must. Set up your family leaving some space for you to jump in. Focus the camera, set the timer, step into your spot, and smile!

christmas card time

xmas card front
I’d advise any business person who plans to send holiday cards to think about card design well in advance of the holiday season. Sending cards can be fun. Scrambling to get them designed at the last minute — a lot less fun.

I seem to recall saying last year that I would take more holiday photos so I had more choice for a photograph this year for my holiday card. Well, although I took lots of family photos, I never did take a lot more photos that I felt comfortable using for this project. I experimented with a few of them — and a few different designs — but decided to save them for another day. I opted to get away from the photo card again this year and designed this year’s card using text and illustration.

xmas card inside
The two things I did accomplish this year were to set aside time early on to create a card and to create the illustration myself for a change. I am happy to say, I hit my deadline of sending my cards off to print before Thanksgiving. I may even have them in hand before Thanksgiving! (With a little more planning, I may get them done before Halloween next year.)