Holidays are the best time to capture wonderful family memories. Follow our tips for taking perfect family holiday snaps
Whether you’re spending the holidays at home or away, this time of year affords extra opportunities for taking great photos of your children. Make sure you take your camera with you wherever you go. Keep it safe from spills and leaking sunscreen by wrapping it up in a plastic bag.
The most important thing you can do to ensure great holiday pics is to embrace the elements of your different surroundings in your photographs.
Tips for taking the perfect holiday snaps
Always be ready
Keep your camera close so you can catch those little moments, like your baby’s first day at the sea, everyone enjoying an ice-cream or your baby opening presents on Christmas morning. Be aware of your surroundings. If your baby is sitting in the garden and the flowers behind her look like they are growing out of the top of her head, then change your angle and it will change the background slightly.
Work with the light
Morning or late afternoon light is the best for taking photos outside as it softens shadows. It’s not always possible to plan this, so when you are confronted with glaring sunlight in the middle of the day use your flash to counterbalance the light and eliminate shadows on faces.
Keep it natural
Be on the watch for those moments when your child is completely absorbed in what she’s doing. These often make for the most natural and prettiest pictures. In fact, try to avoid getting your children to grin into the camera as they often end up posing awkwardly. If your child sees the camera and becomes camerashy then distract her with a task, like splashing in water, dragging a stick on the beach, collecting shells or taking the dog for a walk.
Be artistic and use your imagination when taking photographs. Experiment with different angles and viewpoints. Get down low – lie on the ground in front of your child if you have to – this works really well with little children. You can even try focusing on different elements like a hand holding a flower or on feet on the grass. Think about taking photos of reflections and footprints in the sand. Don’t just point and shoot, put some thought into it.
Draw in the focus
Distracting backgrounds ruin many photographs – especially portrait (vertical) photographs. For a good portrait, crop in closer and eliminate the distraction in the background. Keep the image tight; use sharp focus on the eyes of the person whose photograph you’re taking, keeping the rest of the image a bit softer.
Incorporate your surroundings
Unlike a portrait photograph, landscapes (horizontal) work best when you include beautiful surroundings in the shot. The sea, mountains, forest and bright, saturated blue skies all make for amazing complimentary backdrops.
In the case of a landscape you can keep your baby to the left or right of the frame which allows you to include more elements. Take a picture of your baby running on the beach, or your toddler splashing in the waves or walking down a path in the forest using this technique. These images will be beautiful enough to frame.
To capture the real warmth and excitement of Christmas capture your children under the tree with the tree lights on. To do this well, shoot this picture in the early evening, before it gets too dark.
This is the perfect exposure for your subject and dark enough to give the Christmas lights a glow. Otherwise, if you have a tripod you can experiment with a slightly longer exposure if your subject is sitting still – this is not always possible with babies, but it’s always worth a try.
Tell a story
Don’t just pick up your camera for that single photo of your child collecting shells. Start at the beginning by taking a close-up of a hand reaching for a shell, then take the curious little face peeping into the bucket, and then a wider shot walking along the water’s edge with the bucket. These images together will form your story and would be lovely to mount in the same frame.
Remember to be experimental when taking photos of your family these holidays – don’t always go by the book. We are lucky enough to be in the digital time of photography, so shoot away because whatever doesn’t work, is out of focus and over- or underexposed can just be deleted!