Capture better holiday images for Christmas
Capturing the essence and magic at Christmas is key on every parent wish list. Whilst its important to go with the flow, a little bit of planning ahead can give you photographs you will want to share with all your friends straight away.
Get the Instagram look. If you love everyone waking and coming down in PJ’s you could get them into a new set (you can even go family co-ordinated!) with the photographs in mind. For those who like to get dressed first, you can aim for colours that go nicely together to give that lifestyle look you see on Instagram! Those beautiful outfits and perfect rooms aren’t accidental, they have been created to look that way – your average blogger has put in hours of careful planning!
Consider your backgrounds. Think ahead about a few items and zones where you can get a nice festive backdrop – think in front of the twinkling tree, the fireplace or snuggled with dad in a cosy arm chair. Look for places with natural lighting nearby (window, tree lights, seat by the fireplace and candles) Think ahead about whether you place some gifts here so that when your little one is busy tearing off the paper, you have them in the ‘prettiest’ spot for your photos!
Changing the angle you shoot from can give a real WOW factor – try getting down at floor level, shoot from a step above the kids and get in really close for details and facial expressions.
When it comes to photographing children, nothing will make your shots look better then getting on their level. It’s common to shoot from the perspective of an adult, but if you can bring yourself lower to photograph kids at eye level, you’ll get much more interesting results. This will not only reveal the detail in their expressions, but will also capture their perspective of the world.
Kids aren’t the only photographic subject that benefit from changing up your perspective. Even ordinary objects can be made more interesting by shooting them from a new angle, or by zeroing on a single element of a larger display.
Use the timer so that you can include yourself in some of the shots. Leave your phone on a shelf, stack of books or sofa edge so that you don’t have to be the person left out of the fun.
Keep the shots steady for crystal clear images. You can buy tripods for mobile phones, but balancing you hand on your knee, a shelf of mantlepiece is just as effective.
Capture the love to get that lovely feeling of family closeness, its best to ask everyone to squeeze in together for group shots. Moving chairs tight together just for the photo is well worth the end result. Think about where you place your hands, resting on a shoulder or knee adds to the feeling of cosy togetherness as does making a joke so that everyone laughs as the shot is taken.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Many Android and IOS phones have a feature where you can change the focus and aperture. Try playing with an aperture around 2.8-3 for lovely blurred backgrounds. Be careful – this doesn’t work well for larger groups or people in different areas on the shot. Portrait mode is also a lovely way to change the feel of the image.
Whether you use an iPhone or an Android device, you can tap the screen anywhere to change the focus of the shot. This will also change the exposure level to match the spot you’ve selected, so it’s a handy way of brightening a darker area (or dimming a light one).
Those of you with iPhones can tap and hold to lock the focus and exposure, so it stays fixed even if the phone then moves, or tap, hold, and drag up or down to manually change the exposure level yourself. You’ll see a small sun icon showing the changes.
For moving subjects (excited children!) try the Burst mode, so that you can take a set of shots and choose the best one afterwards.
Taking photographs is a beautiful way to remember these special occasions and something to look back on, talk about and smile about long after the day has passed. You will learn by using you phone camera more and more to trial out new view points – move closer, try new angles, use different light sources — just keep shooting. With that said, don’t forget to clean out your phone’s camera roll of any camera misses once in a while!