Friday, November 18, 2011
Better Holiday Portraits
10 tips to take your best family photos this season
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Holidays are a time when families gather, making it an ideal opportunity for family portraits. One of the nicest places for a family portrait is outside, but since winter weather doesn't always cooperate, it's often best to keep the shoot indoors. Sure, there are challenges, but shooting indoors also eliminates some of the problems of shooting outside—weather uncertainty, windblown hair, uncomfortable temperatures, variable lighting—all of those things are controlled indoors, and with these 10 tips, you can make the most of your family photos this holiday season.
2. Let Grandpa and Grandma sit down, taking priority front and center. Allow children to stand around them, with little ones seated on laps or held by other grown-ups. If you can avoid kids sitting cross-legged on the floor in the foreground, you're off to a good start for a formal portrait. But don't worry too much about it; if there's just not enough space for everyone, utilizing foreground floor space is a good way to free some real estate for the rest of the family, and it keeps the kids more comfortable.
3. Casual, natural posing is often more appealing than stiff and formal, though it's trickier, too. If you're working on an informal group shot, where family members aren't posed symmetrically in a "lineup" format, it works well to think of a big group as several smaller groups. By posing people in multiple groups of two or three per section, composing a large and complicated scene becomes more manageable. The results usually look better, too.
5. Use soft lighting to help with shadows. A flash from the front is almost always harsh. Getting the flash off-camera offers shape and is usually a more interesting and shapely light, but it can create shadows on the faces of the folks in the back row. Split the difference, and try getting the flash off the camera axis and bouncing it off a ceiling or using softening modifiers like umbrellas or softboxes to create more pleasing portrait lighting. It's okay to use on-camera light, especially if it's only a subtle fill to fight dark shadows.
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