5 Easy Hacks for Taking Great Holiday Photos

The holidays are coming!  Despite the quarantine, you can still get great images of the people in your life, in either your backyard or nearby park.  Here are a few quick hacks:

Shoot From Above

Shooting from above allows you to take shots with a new perspective and get more people and decor in the picture than if you shot straight on your subject.  Use a ladder, chair, or climb up onto a table to capture unique shots.  This helps when you have people of different ages and heights together at your gathering.  It brings everyone up to the same eye level.  

Take Poised Portraits At The Beginning Of The Day

This one is a no-brainer. If you want to take frameable family shots, do it at the beginning of the day as opposed to the end of it.  At the end of the day, people are simply less eager to be photographed or pose. Also, everyone is looking their best at the beginning of the day.  Another great thing about shooting first thing in the morning is that the lighting is less harsh.  As you can see in this image, we used the early morning light to create this soft focus appearance.  

Shoot In Continuous Burst Mode

Shooting in "Continuous Mode" can help you get quick shots of people in action. This is also a good Mode to use when taking posed photos.  You also raise the chance of getting more people looking at you and not sneezing or looking away.  DSLRs and Smartphones all have a continuous shoot mode on them.  

On a DSLR, go into "Settings" on the back of your camera, and scroll down to find "Continuous Burst" mode.  On a Smartphone, simply hold down the "Shutter"  or "Volume" button and the camera will shoot a burst until you lift your finger.  This is another great option if you are shooting sporting events.

Consider Changing Your Aperture

If you are using a DSLR with interchangeable lenses to shoot, make sure you shoot using higher apertures.  An aperture of f8 or higher is great for capturing everyone in the the family in sharp detail.   All of the background will be in focus.  If you are taking just one person's image, considering lowering your aperture to f4 to capture a sharp image of your subject while blurring the background out. 

Sit People Down

Taking a photo of everyone in one row is often impossible especially when working with a large family. To get everyone inside the shot, divide the group into two or three rows with the tallest at the back. Have those at the front sitting or kneeling down to give depth. Sitting people down also allows you to shoot for longer before people tire out. 

These are just a few hacks when shooting family portraits, that you can start using right away.  Try them out and see how your photography skills improve over the holidays.   Sign up for more tutorials every week.  Check out some of my past Friday Tutorials.



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the author

Tracy Heschong-McCrackin

Tracy Heschong-McCrackin is an award-winning writer and photographer, who has had her work recognized across the country. Several of her images have been Editor Favorites at NatGeoYourShot. 

She started her photography studio 20 years ago and specialized in portraits, landscapes and commercial photography. Tracy draws much of her inspiration from her travels.  She has a passion for investigating off the beaten path locations, cultures and individuals.  It is those moments of exploration that her creativity is ignited and much of her artwork is born.  She is an Artist, Photographer, Designer and Blogger.  Her Gallery can be found at: www.tracymccrackin.com.  You can also follow her on social media by clicking any of the links below.