By Jen Bebb
With lots of family and loved ones coming together for the holidays, you know there will be plenty of Kodak moments to capture. But how can you snap the absolute best photos you’ll want to treasure for years to come? Follow these 10 simple family holiday photo ideas to try this season.
1. Choose your location.
Before everyone gets dressed, before the session begins, before the kids start to get goofy, know where, when and how you are going to take your family photos. This will require doing some work ahead of time, but it’s worth it when you are able to take your photos quickly and easily.
2. Be aware of your light.
Visit your location at the same time of day you plan to take the pictures. To keep things simple, try to work with even light. Avoid bright sun that creates shadows under the eyes or causes people to squint, if you are outside. If you are indoors, use the light from a window or open doorway.
3. Choose your outfits.
Try to avoid really bright colors, conflicting patterns or anything that matches. This is a great time to get the kids involved — let them pick out their favorite outfits and have them help with what you wear. The more the kids are involved in the planning, the more interested they will be in the entire session.
4. Test your camera.
Before getting the family together for the session, make sure your camera is working. Check the battery, the CF/SD cards, and take a few test shots to ensure nothing is wrong.
5. Use a tripod.
Obviously, everyone needs to be in the photo, so you need something to hold your camera straight and steady. Put the camera on the tripod, choose your settings, make a few test shots, and you’re all set. It helps when at least one of your family members is already in position so you have something to focus on while setting this up.
6. Use a self timer or a remote trigger.
A lot of cameras have a self-timer feature if you want to use that. The only downside is that someone has to run back and forth between the camera and the family. Investing in a remote trigger might make your session a bit easier since it allows you to be with your family the entire time and, as a result, you won’t miss a thing.
7. “Pose” the family.
Once the camera is set up, get your family in position. Don’t forget to leave room for the person who will be setting the self-timer (if that’s what you are using). It can be hard to catch everyone smiling at the same time, and even harder to keep the kids interested. Why not try some of these ideas to keeps the entire family engaged:
8. Take advantage of the moments in between.
If you are using the remote trigger, take photos of the times you aren’t “posing” for the camera. These are the times you will get genuine smiles and silly expressions and see the way your family naturally connects.
9. Let the kids direct the shoot.
One way to keep the kids engaged is to let them direct what is happening.
10. Have fun and enjoy the moment.
Remember, perfect moments trump a perfect smile. You might not all be smiling perfectly or looking at the camera at the same time, but that’s OK. When you look at these images later, it’s wonderful to remember how much you laughed, how happy the kids were, and how much fun you had together.
Jen Bebb is a photographer, writer, event producer and the Director of CMpro at Clickin Moms.