Christmas, a time to remember. The best Christmas pictures you have ever taken can be achieved by following a few simple rules. With Christmas almost upon us be prepared that you might be the one tasked with the job of recording the event. Follow a few simple rules and your results can be many times better than previous.
First, obviously it’s worth getting the camera out a few days before Christmas, check the batteries, take a few test shots to see everything is working correct and that you have enough memory cards and batteries for what you hope to shoot. Refamiliarising yourself with a camera at this stage can stop all those nasty “hold on” moments while you fiddle with the technical side of the camera.
It’s also worth making sure on the day that the camera is set up ready with what ever settings you need or flash guns attached for your most likely first shot.
Secondly, Fill the camera frame with the image you want. This sounds so obvious but so few people do it. The problem comes when you decide you want to take pictures of little Eric opening his presents and get so excited the button gets pressed before you have checked all four corners of the viewfinder! When you do the first thing you will probably notice is little Eric is only taking up about a third of the frame.
We all concentrate on the subject we want to see and don’t realise how small that is in the viewfinder. By consciously checking all four corners of the viewfinder you get a better understanding of what your end image will be, then you can either zoom in or move in closer to get rid of unintended things included.
Thirdly, When doing a group shot, seize the moment! Don’t fiddle about messing with zoom and the tech when a group has formed up, grab the spontaneous moment of fun and laughter. After all if you have followed the advice above all the tech stuff has been sorted.
There is nothing worse than the energy drain from a group shot if made to wait for a minute or two for the photographer to get ready. Smiles go, laughter stops and people begin to look bored. If you really have forgotten to check all four corners of the frame then crop the image after in post production before showing others.
Fourth tip is take lots without posing people, catch the action as it’s happening. The shot of the cook hard at work in the kitchen, children totally engrossed in playing with their new toys all become a perfect record of the day to be mixed in with the posed groups and portraits to camera.
The fifth tip is for those with a little more understanding of their cameras. If you have a chance to set the colour balance for the shots indoors my preference is to set the camera to stay on daylight balanced exposures.
I then use a little fill flash for all pictures, this makes the main subject naturally colour balanced but gives a lovely warm glow to any tungsten lamps or Christmas lights – warn toned Christmas images always work so much better than those with a cold caste.
Merry Christmas everyone and I hope your record of the day gives you much pleasure in years to come.
Copyright December 2015.