Bring Holiday Cheer to Friends and Family with our Holiday Picture-Taking Guide
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Wait until dusk
The most common problem with outdoor Christmas tree and decoration photos is that they're too dark and the lights or ornaments are pinpoints of bright light that can't be seen clearly. Try photography the tree at dusk or on a cloudy day, and use a 400 speed film
Go overboard with light
You can improve your outdoor pictures by taking full advantage of the flash built into most cameras. It helps brighten your subject's face, provides good color in the shade and eliminates potentially irritating shadows, especially around the eyes.
'Tis the season to be jolly
But too often, your family just doesn't look jolly in over-posed photographs. So catch them when they're acting silly -- the candid, spontaneous moments are often the most precious of the season.
Don't miss those special holiday moments. When it's time for kids to open your gifts to them, have them sit next to you or on your lap. Have another family member snap a photo of the two of you together as the wrapping paper comes off, and their eyes fill with glee. These are the holiday photos you will treasure.
Don't forget to get group shots of your family and friends during the holidays. If it's too cold outside, you can set the family up in the living room. For a large group, be sure to break the group into two or three tiers, rather than queuing everyone up in one long, endless line. Pose one row seated on the couch, another standing or kneeling behind, and youngsters sitting on the floor in front. Have everyone squeeze together as close as possible -- eliminating all the space between bodies so that when you preview the picture, you see (almost) nothing but faces! Position the camera so that you include everyone, with very little extra space on the edges of the viewfinder. Activate your camera's self-timer and step into the picture. Don't forget to take two or three shots -- you'll want to get the perfect one!
Get floored by amazing pictures
If you're going to be taking a picture of a child, get down on that child's level. Be sure and get down on the floor to take a picture of the little ones playing with their new train set or doll house that you had to search for from store to store.
Make (snow) angels of your kids
Try this great shot -- dress your children in warm, protective clothing and hit the snow. Choose an untouched area of snow and help your children place themselves in the snow (be careful not to disturb the snow too much). Then, let them go -- have them place their arms out to the side and wave their arms and legs like crazy. This will create a "snow angel" with wings and all! Don't forget to take lots of great shots. Be careful, though, because snow can make picture-taking tricky. Bright, snowy backgrounds can cause your camera's automatic flash to overreact to the brightness, and darker subjects (people, buildings, animals) will be underexposed. Make sure to move in close to get accurate exposure. Many cameras have an "exposure-lock" feature so you can move in close to your subject to take a reading and lock the settings, then move back to shoot the picture
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