Christmas is almost here. With it comes numerous opportunities to photo our children and other family members. Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your photos.
1. Get Close. Those precious faces are the main thing you are going to want to see in your print. If you want a photo of your entire living room, do one. Both don't try to get a cute photo of your toddler opening a gift AND the living room. Choose one. I love having a zoom lens on my digital. Wow. I began in photography without the benefit of zoom. For years all that moving around was how I kept fit. If you done any scrapbooking and had to whack three quarters of the print away to get to the image you really wanted, you understand what I'm talking about. While we are at it, when photographing a child, get down on their level.
2. Let Your Subjects Get Close. Cheek to cheek is fun and usually makes folks giggle which makes for great expressions. Hugs, hand-holding, and leaning on each other give warmth and casualness to your photos. Even a slight lean towards each other makes family members look like they like each other. A miracle.
3. Take LOTS. The best part of digital is the delete button. Charge up your batteries and snap, snap, snap away. Then, choose only the best of the best to keep.
4. Watch the Background. Sure it looks funny to have a curtain rod or branch coming out some one's ear, but think about it, what if this is the last time you get to photograph Grandma? Do you really want that thing sticking out her head?
5. Be an Equal Opportunity Photographer. I don't know how many times I've focused too much on one couple or one particular child and not gotten enough of everyone else. Another advantage to digital is being able to take a quiet moment and review what's in the memory.
6. Hand Off. Occasionally hand the camera to someone else so they can photograph you. I don't care if you need to lose twenty pounds, dye your hair, and have cosmetic surgery on the bags under your eyes. Someone in your family loves you and they want photos of you. Besides, none of us are getting any younger or prettier, are we? Fluff your hair, dab on some make-up (as appropriate) and suck in your tummy, but do this now.
7. No Target Practice. Many photographers have the distressing habit of putting their subject's face dead center in the image. Like the center of a bull's-eye target. You aren't there to execute the subject, so allow the faces to be in the upper third of the photo. In fact, imagine a tic-tac-toe board over your screen. Place your point of interest where the lines intersect. This is called the 'Rule of Thirds' and helps your photograph be much more interesting to look at. More on this another day.
8. Book 'em, Danno.. Within a few days of Christmas, upload your images to your computer. Sort into labeled files. Send the chosen ones to the printer for hard copies. Scrapbook them within the month. You'll love yourself if you keep up with this chore in a timely fashion. Others will love you, too, because they get to enjoy the photos.
Photos stir our memories and with it our hearts. Sparkling eyes, the flash of a smile, the baby soft skin of a Grandmother and her newborn grand child. These portrayals are worth so much more than a thousand words. Create lots and lots of memory images this Christmas season.