Friday, December 3, 2010

My Top 10 Do-It-Yourself Holiday Photo Tips

1.  Prep your kids.  Dress down.  Save the fancy clothes for parties, they always manage to look stiff and too formal in portraits. Try using texture instead. Ruffles, denim, and layered looks look modern especially in black and white photos. Dress everyone in the same theme, whether in their pajamas, or all in denim.

2.  Get down.  There are too many photos out there with kids' heads cranked up looking at the camera.  Get down to their level.  This isn't an absolute rule, and higher up can create some fun shots too, but get into the habit of taking shots at their level and fill the frame so the background isn't always the floor.

3.  Turn off that flash.  Direct on camera flash can produce a harsh unflattering light, especially the flashes on point and shoots.  Turn it off and play around with your camera’s ISO settings.  These day’s digital cameras can be set to very high ISO speeds making them very sensitive to lower light situations.  So turn that flash off and have fun – not to mention you will lose the red-eye.

4.  Take advantage of our overcast skies.  Forget about sunny weather when taking photos.  Direct sunlight is harsh and produces unflattering shadows.  Take the kids to the beach this winter, or have them stand in a doorway for some beautiful even natural light.

5.  Let it Snow.  Get some great shots of your kids in the snow.  A snow-filled scene is like having a giant reflector and fantastic for shooting portraits.

6.  No cheese please.  Don’t ask your kids to smile and look at the camera.  As cute as that is, it’s not very original nor does it produce a very dynamic portrait.  Engage them in an activity and let them be themselves doing what they love and you will find that the picture will just happen.

7.  Do something random. You don’t always have to be cute and fluffy with the shots you take. Get into a habit of being randomly creative. Snap a shot of them in an empty grocery cart in an empty parking lot, or at a garage sale on the used book table. You already know the standard dog petting/potty training pics are on their way, so turn any scenario into a creative backdrop and make memorable shots that standout for a life time.

8.  Classic black & white.  Nothing much needs to be said here.  All of the basic photo editors that come with your computer will allow you to convert to black & white and make other basic adjustments.

9.  Go big or go home.  Set your camera to the highest jpeg setting and have the potential to produce big, gorgeous works of art for your home.

10.  Have fun!  Don't stress out about getting the perfect picture.  Take lots of photos and I mean LOTS.  Not only will you potentially create a beautiful series of images, but like they say, practice makes perfect.


  1. So helpful!! Will print and stash in my camera bag!! Thanks for the tips...I'll let you know how I do!

    Happy Holidays to you and your handsome boys (all 3!). : )

    Sophia T

  2. This is great! Thanks Mama K!!! xox

  3. These are awesome! I love the first and last shots!