In today’s picture-documented world, the winter holidays probably snag the award for the most photographed occasions. Decorated trees, glowing lights, pageants and concerts, gift-opening, parties, family portraits … the list of photo ops is endless. There’s a lot of pressure to get the perfect photo, especially when they will be looked back upon for years to come. Rick Haithcox, of Haithcox Photography in Dallas, offered some suggestions for capturing those special moments perfectly.
Strike a pose: If you’re gathering family members or friends for a group shot, first think about the lighting in the room.
“Typically, florescent lights and overhead lights do not make the best sources for those types of images,” Haithcox said. “If they don’t have access to off-camera flashes, they should try to choose window light or something like that, or if they can go outdoors, that would be better.”
When indoors, using a tri-pod can help, as well as choosing a lens or technique that keeps everyone in focus.
On the move: For action shots or candid photos, a fast shutter speed offers a big advantage. If you have different lenses for your camera, pick one that isolates the people from the background and “focuses more on the person rather than the whole room.” Longer, faster lens will offer the best bet in these scenarios.
Backgrounds: “Pay attention to the background. Try not to have things coming out of the backs of people’s heads,” Haithcox said.
And make sure the setting’s not too busy. Blurring or darkening the background can make the subjects stand out more.
Holiday lights: “You need a tripod and a slow shutter speed to capture the lights on the tree. To get the faces to come out, you’re going to have to have a flash of some sort,” Haithcox said.
The subject is lighted by the flash, but since it only travels a short distance, it keeps the background darker so you can see the lights.
Unique photos: “Try to either get up high or down low. Don’t always think you have to be standing at eye level. If anything, just squat down and that will give you a different perspective,” he said.
You could try standing on the back of a truck, or climbing onto the roof of your house (using caution, of course!). Anytime there’s snow is a great opportunity to get outside and take photos.
Up close and personal: If you think you are positioned near enough to your subject, take 10 steps closer, Haitcox said.
“If you don’t have access to zoom lenses, then you’re feet is the best way. Try to fill the frame with your subject. Look not only at the middle of your frame but top to bottom and left to right and pay attention to the surroundings and not just the faces,” he said.
You can reach lifestyles reporter Andrea Honaker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-869-1840. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/andi384 and read her blog at lifelessons.blogs.gastongazette.com.