Holiday Photography

Composing holiday photos

Written by James Jordan

Now that you’ve got HOW you’ll shoot your holiday pictures down pat, it’s time to think of WHAT you’ll shoot this season.

Now that you’ve got HOW you’ll shoot your holiday pictures down pat, it’s time to think of WHAT you’ll shoot this season.

Location, location, location

Getting good pictures is like successful real estate – it’s all in where you’re located.

Some things to keep in mind as you compose your shots when composing holiday photos:

♦ Position yourself so that people’s heads stand clear from the background.

♦ Get down to your subjects’ level. And we’re not just talking kids. Seated adults look their best when photographed from their eye level.

♦ Get close. A few shots of the entire room are necessary to establish the setting, but most of your shooting time should be focused on framing one to three people at a time. Move in closer to your subjects or zoom in with a longer lens setting.

A tip for group shots

Other basics of holiday group photography are covered in a separate article, but consider this – take the group shots shortly after the guests arrive as opposed to several hours afterward. They’ll be fresher, more energetic and in some cases, more alert. 😉

Go for bokeh.

The holidays feature a plethora of lights around the home. Take advantage of this by getting in close to your subjects and opening up your aperture to catch those circles of out of focus lights in the background. This article describes quality Bokeh and ways to attain it.

Photo by James Jordan

Details matter

In all of the excitement of opening gifts and getting pictures of that relative you haven’t seen in ages, don’t forget to focus on some of the small details around you – ornaments, decorations, toys, etc.

Photo by James Jordan

Shoot lots and edit ruthlessly

Holiday gatherings involve a lot of activity at a furious pace. You’ll increase your odds of capturing unique moments by shooting often.

Consider shooting on continuous mode to give yourself rapid-fire capabilities when covering the antics of excited children. This works best when shooting available light as you can often get ahead of your flash’s ability to recycle when shooting in this mode.

After the day is over and you’re looking through your photographic efforts, cull out the obvious outtakes as well as the marginal ones.

Holiday dinner photo. iStockphoto

About the author

James Jordan

James Jordan, Digicamhelp Contributing Writer, is owner of James Jordan Photography in Elgin, IL. His portfolio includes portraits for families, seniors and corporations, events, products, travel and landscape photography. His work has been published in travel guides and lifestyle magazines in the Midwestern U.S. A series of artistic landscape prints will be exhibited in Door County, Wisconsin in the summer of 2009.