This week kicks off the Holidays with Thanksgiving and then holiday parties are sure to follow. Chances are you'll have work parties, family parties, friend parties, church parties, trips to the mall to see Santa, etc. Some of these will include friends or family that you may not see on a regular basis. I'm guessing that you'll want pictures of these fun events. So....
I threw this list together as my top 6 tips. They are do-able whether you have a small point and shoot camera, or a top of the line DSLR. You don't need to be a pro to use these tips. Just grab your camera (with batteries) and go!
1. Plan Ahead and Be Prepared. Nothing is worse then going to use the camera and realizing your battery is almost dead. Or you forgot to put the memory card in. Or you forgot the camera completely. If you are like most, chances are this has happened to you at least once. Pack your bag the night before! If your battery uses regular alkaline (AA or AAA) batteries, make sure you have spares in your bag. If you have a rechargeable battery, get an extra one or two just for good measure. You can usually find them cheap on amazon.com or tigerdirect.com, or newegg.com. Make sure everything is charged up the day before. Check your memory cards. Clear them off and if you have a few extras, grab those as well.
2. Take your large group shots first thing. Once everyone has arrived for dinner or a party, take the large group shot. Everyone will be looking their best and more obliged to get a shot first thing rather than after they have stuffed their bellies full and can hardly move.
3. Get candid. Don’t spend your whole evening posing people into pictures. Just capture the moments as they happen. If people are looking your way, great. But if you are playing a group game, get the reactions from members. Get on the ground - eye level with your kids. Take pictures of your kids actually seeing their present for the first time rather than holding it up for the camera with a cheesy smile. You’ll cherish those pictures more than the posed. I promise!
4. Get up close. Don't be afraid to get up close. Most people see a beautiful nature scene, say "Wow!" and snap a shot of the whole landscape. Or they stand far back from the family gathering to “get it all in.” Don't settle for canned shots; zoom in on the details that matter. This draws viewers' eyes to the subject. Of course, you may want to capture some of the background (or foreground) elements to frame your subject.
5. Capture relationships - not just people. If you see grandma interacting with the newest member of the family in a snuggle, hurry and grab the shot. How about the newlyweds holding hands and nuzzling - grab it. Maybe mom and dad sneaking in a kiss right after dinner. Some of the best shots are those where we are unaware of the camera and just doing our thing. Be prepared for those moments because they will happen.
6. SHARE the moments! Don’t be a picture hog. Let others share the memories as seen through your lens. Post them to Facebook and let your family tag themselves. Create a flickr.com account. Blog your pictures, give discs of your pictures as gifts, make a few prints and have them framed for grandma, you can even create books with your images.
Happy Holidays and Happy Shooting!