It’s that time of the year. Every year you vow to do holiday greeting cards early. But getting that adorable image of your little angels without a stress-inducing fiasco can be daunting, particularly when they aren’t showing their angelic side during a professional photo session! Trish Reda, a professional portrait photographer in Southern California known for her captivating images in photojournalist style, is back to share her tips for DIY holiday photos that make a memory you actually want to keep.
No matter how beautiful your card is, the recipients are really looking at the photographs, so here are a few tips that will help kick off your holiday season capturing knock out images with a little less stress
- Go black and white. Not only is black and white classic, but it also will never clash with any card you choose. Black and white also pops when placed on a card with festive colors.
- Dress down. When your kids are dressed up with ties, jackets, dresses, tights and Mary Janes, I can almost guarantee you that your image will be as stiff as their clothes. Save the fancy clothes for the parties, but break away from it when you’re taking their photograph. Instead dress them in either solid colors, or light subtle patterns. Instead of “fancy”, think “texture.” Ruffles, linen, layered fabrics, scarves and denim lend a lot of interest and dimension to black and white photographs.
- Don’t over think your location. Know what works as far as lighting goes. Avoid direct sunlight. Stick with the shade with the open sky in front of them like a doorway, a window or a nook in your backyard. Any place with an abundance of natural light can make a huge difference. Then, follow them around and see where they go. Let them roll around on your bed. Messy is preferable (remember texture). Chase them to that old run down wooden fence you’ve been meaning to replace.
- Learn your camera settings. Today’s cameras can do amazing things in difficult light. Take the time to figure out how to raise your camera’s ISO (film speed) to 400 or even 800. This will lower the chances of your flash popping and in doing so will give you the dimensionality that only natural light can do.
- Don’t stress your kids out. I can’t reiterate this enough. Nothing ruins the possibility of a good shot than forcing the moment, bribing and threatening your kids. If they’re being a little naughty, let them. A little naughty – it makes for a really great image most days. If you bribe them, just know that they are now keenly aware of how bad you want to get the shot. Good luck after that!
- Have fun. Seriously. Don’t let the annual holiday card photograph be a source of bad memories and possible future therapy. Play with your kids in the process. Make it a REAL memory instead of a one way mission to the card. You will thank yourself later.
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Photography by Trish Reda