I have always enjoyed receiving Christmas cards with photos in them. And in the past, when my children were young, would try to insert photos into the Christmas cards I sent to give them a personal touch. These photos weren't always a posed family shot by the Christmas tree. Sometimes they were, but often they were duplicates of favourites that I had taken of my children throughout the course of the year and shots that I thought the receiver of the card would appreciate as much as me. They were some occasions though when I made the effort to do a posed family shot specifically for the Christmas card. If I thought of it far enough in advance I would try to set something up when we were on holiday to take advantage of beautiful scenery and weather. On other occasions I would pick the perfect spot in the house, dress everyone in matching outfits and shoot away. There are a few things I learned over the years about taking your best family photo for the Christmas card that I would like to share with you and hopefully it will make the shooting of your card photo go more smoothly. |
The most important thing to consider when taking your family photo is the light conditions. It doesn't matter how expensive your camera is, natural light will always give you the best results. After attempting to take numerous shots in doors with a flash, I have learned that I just don’t like the look the flash gives my photos. If you take your family shot outside in bright light, but not direct sunlight, you will get a great shot. If it is a sunny day, be careful not to have shadows on people’s faces and certainly avoid direct sunlight as it will wash out the colours in your photos. If you absolutely must take your photo indoors, try to position the group near a bright window so you can avoid using the flash on your camera and adjust your camera’s settings accordingly.
My children were used to posing for pictures as I constantly took photos of them, but if yours aren’t they may be awkward in front of the camera. If this is the case, try to keep the photos simple and natural. Often the best photos are informal, unplanned shots. Take the kids to the park in the fall and shoot them playing in the fall leaves. This will give you great colour, as well as a natural look. Even shots of them playing in the garden will give you great results.
When posing a family group shot there are a few things to keep in mind. If you are going for the matching outfit look, solid colours work best. Matching patterned shirts can make the photo look busy and detract from the stars of the show, your beautiful family! The same goes for the setting—too much going on will take the attention away from the subjects. Take lots of shots on your favourite camera. The more you take, the more likely you are to get the perfect photo. Of course, if your children are young and impatient, you may have to limit how many shots you take because they will lose interest quickly. Don’t be too picky and try to enjoy the process. If everyone is looking at your SLR camera and smiling you are way ahead of the game. In the years to come the photos will be very precious. My children are all grown up now and the family shots I took for Christmas cards are priceless, even the ones that didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.
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