Digital Photography Tips to Help You Capture Life's Memories

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 10

Holiday Photo Tips…How to Take Great Holiday Photos!

Having just celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States, much of the world is now full swing into the Holiday Season. Hanukkah and Christmas are fast approaching and shortly after that we will celebrate the New Year.

Noah ChristmasThis time of year we have some great opportunities for photography. From family gatherings, to Christmas and New Year’s parties there are many opportunities to take pictures and preserve memories of family and friends.
Even beyond those special times with family and friends there are other opportunities to take some great pictures that capture the mood of this festive season.

Towns and homes are alive with Christmas lights, Christmas trees and many other holiday decorations all presenting photographers with a wide variety of subjects to photograph. Today’s digital cameras make it much easier to take photos of the holiday lights than ever before.

In this issue of Capturing Life's Memories we will cover a few quick tips to help you capture many great photos this holiday season.

Top Holiday Photo Tips

1. Keep your camera with you and take lots of photos. As you go about your holiday activities try and keep a camera with you and allow yourself to slowdown from the hustle and bustle of the season to take time to capture the many different types of photos available this time of year.

2. Take photos of the details of season. The holiday lights and decorations offer some great opportunities for an aspiring photographer to take some photos that might be suitable for sale on a stock photography site. Even if you have no interest in trying to sell stock photos trying to take photos that look like they are suitable for a magazine can make for some great additions to your family album as well. This might include photos of the holiday meal preparations, gift wrapping, decorations, etc. Try to capture the festive mood of the holidays through the small details we sometimes overlook.

3. Get close or zoom in. Fill the frame with your subject. Zoom in close on the details mentioned above. Try to capture the emotions of the children by focusing on their faces.

Christmas Cookies

4. Get creative. Experiment with different lighting, angles and perspectives to capture those special shots that just say WOW!

5. Try to use natural lighting. The soft glow of the holiday lights help set the mood and capture the ambiance of the season.

6. If you have a new camera, take it out of automatic mode and try adjusting your settings manually. Many digital cameras today have special low light modes. Try using the different modes and settings to learn what you camera is able to do.

7. The best time to shoot photos of outdoor holiday lights is at twilight. This is the time shortly after the sun goes down where there is still some color left in the sky. Shortly after the lights come on and the sky begins to turn dark is a great time to take photos of holiday lights. It allows you to get some color in the sky as well as capture the beauty of the lights.

holiday lights

8. Use the “Night View” or “Nighttime Portrait Mode” if your camera has one when taking pictures outdoors at night or if you are taking a portrait of a person at night. This helps avoid having the flash overwhelm the natural lighting and allows you to properly expose both the people and the background.

9. Taking pictures in low light settings presents some unique challenges that you need to overcome. First you must keep your shutter speed high enough to avoid camera shake. Using a tripod can help avoid this but you can also adjust your ISO to a higher setting which will allow for a faster shutter speed. But keep in mind that higher ISO’s also mean increased amounts of digital noise so knowing how to use the big three camera settings of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed is a key to taking good low light photos.

10. Think HDR. HDR or High Dynamic Range Photography is where you capture three or more images at different exposures and then use software to combine them into a single photo that brings out the full dynamic range of the image. For more information on this type of photography check out our page on HDR Photography.

Until Next Month

Christmas OrnamentEnjoy the holiday season and take lots of great photos.

A great way to get creative and create some cool lighting effects is with the inexpensive Bokeh Masters Kit . Using this kit will help create some cool bokeh effects especially when there is holiday lights in the background. Check it out at Amazon.com

I hope you capture many great photos and special memories this holiday season.

Until next month.

Alan

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