It’s that time again: time for thanksgiving, getting ready for the holidays, making merry, and ringing in the new year. And even if you don’t celebrate any year-end holidays, chances are you’re about to get a few days off. Chances are also good you’ll be traveling home at some point (or family or friends are coming to visit you). And you know what that means, don’t you?
You’re about to have a few good days filled with some pretty stellar photo ops.
So, in the interest of making the most of your camera over the holidays, here are some of my best tips for taking awesome home-for-the-holidays pictures.
1. Snap a shot of the greeting. Maybe you’re the one picking someone up from the airport, or maybe you’re the pickee — either way, greetings are some of my favourite images to shoot. Have your cameraat the ready to capture the hugs, the slaps on the backs, the “wow, you’re looking great!” moments that happen as soon as loved ones see each other. And when you do this, keep in mind that even though a technically perfect shot is always awesome, this isn’t the time to pose for images, or do re-shots. I mean, so what if the resulting image is a bit blurry, or slightly out-of-focus? The point is to capture the emotion of the greeting as best you can. I promise, if you just try to do that, even if the shot isn’t technically perfect, chances are you’ll cherish the result anyway for years to come.
2. Get portraits of the kids. Let’s face it: holidays are so often about the kids, and besides, if yours are anything like the family gatherings my family has, this might be the first time in a while that all the kids and their cousins get to play together. Let them go to it, and when they’re not paying attention to you, grab some shots of them enjoying each other. But also, grab some shots of them looking right at you, as well — because not only will this capture a few good holiday memories for you, it will also mark their own growth milestones as well.
3. Capture moments of everyday chores. Most family gatherings end up in the kitchen, don’t they? So I say grab your camera and make sure to get a few shots! Get some of Aunt Jenny making her famous Dump Cake. Or ingredients sitting on the counter, waiting to be turned into be turned into Uncle John’s famous cornbread stuffing. Or flour-covered hands of kids helping to roll out a pie crust. Or dad lighting the fire. Tap into your inner photojournalist, and capture these mundane chores when people aren’t looking. Even though the shots aren’t posed, they’ll capture the atmosphere of the day as people relax into the daily routine of being a family.
(And of course, don’t forget to grab the iconic images of the holidays: your brother carving a turkey, or your nieces and nephews lighting Christmas trees or menorahs — whatever. By sprinkling these shots in amongst the others you take, they’ll add holiday meaning to your entire collection of images.)
4. Rediscover your home town. If you’re returning to your childhood home, take some time to slip away from everyone, and walk through your city’s streets, visit your old haunts, and grab a few shots. Marvel at how much things have changed (or stayed the same). Besides, there’s no reason to stick with your family 24/7 while you’re visiting, and chances are you’re going to want some time alone at some point. Just make sure to take your camera with you when you do.
5. Grab shots of everyone together. At the risk of feeling cheesy gathering everyone together, the truth of the matter is that 20 years from now, you’re going to cherish that shot of everyone. To ease some of the pain, first do the following:
Get a nice shot of everyone posed in front of the camera (use a tripod and a timer if you need to, in order to make sure that you’re in the shot as well!). Then, once you’ve done that, take another shot, where everyone is doing something different: where everyone is making a face, or everyone strikes a ballerina pose, or a runway pose, or … my favourite … does a gigantic group family hug. Something that makes everyone laugh naturally. I guarantee you’ll love the outcome.
With that, happy holiday-making friends. And if you take any photographs you’re proud of, please link them in the comments below!
Would you like to win your own Samsung Galaxy Camera? Repin one of the photos from our “Holiday Memories + Moments” Pinterest board with the hashtag #samsungmemories for a chance to win, or upload your own photo onto your personal board with the hashtag #samsungmemories. And from there, we will pick the top twenty photos. Contest ends December 31st, 2012.
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