One of my favourite holiday activities is pulling out the camera and aggravating friends and family, while taking a lot of bad photographs. This is one season when I really appreciate digital cameras. I take hundreds of pictures and with any luck, a couple of them turn out okay. Unfortunately, the good ones are pictures of the dog’s rump.
With a little planning and thought, it is easy to improve the quality of holiday photographs. Here are a few tips that can help:
These tips are aimed at point-and-shoot, entry-level cameras, or even a smartphone. However, if you have a more advanced camera some of these tips can apply, as well.
- When shooting indoors, experiment with turning your camera’s flash on and off for different results.
- When taking pictures around the tree, turn off your flash to capture the twinkling lights. Use a tripod or support and the camera’s timer, to compensate for a slower shutter speed.
- Avoid placing your subjects directly in front of a window as it causes excessive back-lighting.
- Take photos before noon and after 4pm when the sun is not at its strongest.
- Use your in-camera flash in daylight to counteract harsh lighting.
- You can avoid shadows under the eyes and nose by using your flash during strong sunlight, neutralizing the light and balancing the exposure.
- Take advantage of your camera’s scene modes, especially if it offers a setting for Beach and/or Snow.
- When taking portraits, get as close as you can, physically or with your camera’s optical zoom lens.
- To avoid red-eye, have your subject look directly at the nearest light source right before they look at the camera.