Happy Day Before Thanksgiving! In our family we always try to take our holiday card photos over Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity for family photos, because it’s when everyone is all together under one roof. If you’re planning on taking any family photos this weekend, or if you’d like a few good holiday photos before Christmas, here are 8 quick tutorials from me to get you prepped and ready to take beautiful photos for the holidays.
The first step to beautiful holiday photos is understanding what all your camera can do for you. A DLSR can take beautiful photos, but can also have lots of confusing buttons, letters and numbers. This tutorial quickly explains what you want to know in easy-to-understand language. What settings do you use to get a soft, blurry background? What settings do you use to take pictures of kids so they’re not blurry?
This empowering article will make you feel like a pro when you’re done!
Just changing one thing about family photos — the lighting — can make a HUGE difference in how your photos turn out! Hands down, my best photos are taken in natural light during the day. If taking a photo indoors, try having everyone look straight at a window with lots of sunlight coming through. The photographer’s back should be towards the window. Everyone’s faces will be illuminated with natural light and you’ll get gorgeous catchlights in their eyes from the window. If that is not an option, consider an external flash that can be pointed at the ceiling. The flash will bounce off the ceiling and illuminate the whole room, mimicking sunlight.
If outdoors, try to find a nice big shady area. Place a willing test model in the middle of the shade and rotate around him, looking at his eyes until they have catchlights in them, but also so that he is not squinting from the sun. For the most optimal background, look through your camera and make sure there are no super bright or super dark spots from the sun or shade coming through. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, arrange everyone around your test model.
This tutorial gives you before and after examples of how a subject looks in different lighting situations.
What’s the best lens for taking portraits? If you’re indoors and taking a photo of a big group, a wide angle lens might be your best option. Just remember that with a wide angle lens some distortion will definitely occur! Use a lens that will allow you to zoom in as much as you can and still fit everyone in. It’s always, always best for you, the photographer, to physically back up as far as you can get from the group and zoom in to fit everyone in, rather than stay where you are and zoom out. The more you zoom in, the less distortion will occur, and the more bokeh you can achieve for blurring out potentially messy backgrounds. Same goes for outside — if you have a lens 85mm or above, use it. The more you zoom in, the more background blur you can achieve, which is always gorgeous for portraits.
This article tells you everything you need to know about lenses and what all those words (wide angle) and numbers (85mm) mean!
What settings should you use nighttime photos? Photos with a flash? Action photos and ripping into Christmas presents? Photos to get Christmas light bokeh in the background, or photos to get everyone in focus? How about a silhouette in front of the Christmas tree? By knowing *why* certain settings were chosen for specific situations, you can look at any photo and get similar results in your own photography.
This these two articles include sample photos and not only their settings, but why those specific settings were chosen.
The Christmas tree can provide an excellent background for gorgeous, unique photos that you can only take one time of year.
This tutorial shows you the photos you have to take before the tree comes down.
To give your photos that polished, finished, professional look, here’s a quick Photoshop tutorial that will slightly sharpen, lighten, brighten your photos while giving them a little extra color pop.
If you’ll be posting your photos online for sharing with friends and family, you’ll definitely want to make sure your photos are saved, sharpened, and optimized for web viewing.
This simple Photoshop tutorial shows you how.
If you don’t have Photoshop, Lightroom is a great (and less expensive) alternative. And it may be the only photo editor you ever need!
Come see just how powerful Lightroom can actually be when you know all its secrets revealed in this tutorial.
I hope you guys found this helpful! Have a wonderful, joyful, and safe holiday dear friends. See you next week!