It’s definitely time to start thinking about holiday cards. I’m sure there are many of you out there that have already taken care of this – but for those procrastinators like myself, it is either time to hire a photographer (of course Keith is hoping for people to make this choice!) or take a picture yourself to grace the cover of your holiday card.
If you’ve made the decision to take this project on yourself – let’s get stared!
Let’s remind ourselves why we send holiday cards in the first place. I know we send them to family and friends as a way of keeping the important people in our lives up to date on what our kids look like. More importantly, however, Keith and I strive to send out a card that captures who our kids are. If great grandma in Florida sees our kids once every other year, we want her to have an idea of what our kids personalities are really like. We want our card to capture a moment that reflects this.
First things first, you need to decide what you want the picture to look like. Are you going to be taking your kids(s) picture with Santa hats on? Are you going for an action shot, like your kid(s) running in the backyard? Are you going to try and stage a traditional family portrait? Regardless of what you envision the outcome, it is a good idea to scout the location ahead of time.
Now that you’ve decided what you want the picture to look like, here are a few other details to keep in mind in order to simplify the shoot!
- Visualize what you want – don’t try and get too complex, you will just complicate your life
- If you can, try to use whatever natural light exists in the scene
- Clothing selection: dress the kid(s) in complimentary colors but try to avoid having everyone dressed identically, avoid loud patterns
- Shoot a lot! The more you shoot, the better chance you will have to capture a fleeting moment or natural expression
- Be stealth – do not torment the kids by constantly asking them to smile and say cheese, engage them in an activity and start shooting – you will be pleasantly surprised with the results
- If you are aiming for a more traditional portrait – stay patient and friendly with your kids, try to get a real expression by making them laugh – not the “cheese” smile…choose another word or act silly, try something that might elicit a chuckle or two!
- Get in close, then get in even closer – don’t be afraid to fill your viewfinder with an adorable child’s face
- Try several different camera angles – move around and see what else might work – try getting on your child’s level, roll around with them, shoot from above – think outside of the box
- Direct the action, be in control and make sure you HAVE FUN!