3 Easy Tips for Better Holiday Pictures

Hey, friends! It’s Ben here wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

The weather outside isn’t yet frightful, but it is chilly (and the fire sure is delightful)–all signs we are getting close to my favorite holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas! Some of you may choose to celebrate different holidays, but odds are you’ll be getting together with family and friends soon…and taking lots of pictures.

Whether you are using a DSLR camera or using your cell phone, here are three tips to getting better photos at your holiday events (because, let’s face it . . . we can’t photograph all of your parties :-))!

3 Easy Tips for Better Holiday Pictures

 1. Headroom
3 Easy Tips for Better Holiday Pictures

Too much headroom!

3 Easy Tips for Better Holiday Pictures

Just the right amount of headroom.

Headroom is a photography term referring to the amount of space between the top of photo and the top of the tallest subject’s head. The general rule you want to follow is make sure there isn’t a ton of space above the people in your photos. If you can see the ceiling and not their shoes, it’s a dead giveaway that you’ve got too much headroom! Remember: Don’t center the faces, make sure to limit the headroom.


2. Soften the Light

Lighting is the most important aspect to a great photo. Most cameras have a built-in flash that fires a very small light directly at your subject, which is the least “pretty” way to light a photo–especially in darker places (which is the most likely place you’ll be celebrating a party).

3 Easy Tips for Better Holiday Pictures

Redirecting your flash up to the ceiling yields great results and can fill a room!

Use your on-camera flash anyway–though you’ll want to modify it slightly. You can use your hand or a sheet of printer paper to make your photos better.

With your hand, cup it in front of the flash to direct the light up to the ceiling (it’s important that your hand is between the subject and the flash, otherwise it won’t work). With the paper, bend it likewise around the front of the flash to direct some light up to the ceiling (not all of the light will be blocked, but it will be softer than direct flash). Either way, you are using the ceiling as a large, soft light modifier to create flattering light.

Bonus: Earlier, I mentioned you don’t want to have the ceiling in your photos…this is another reason why. Remember: Redirect the flash to the ceiling with your hand or a sheet of paper.

(tip #3 is below)

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3. Laughter

Some of the best images are natural, candid smiles. To achieve this look even when Uncle Ted tells a bad joke, have everyone to laugh as big and as loud as possible. Then, wait until their silly laughter makes them genuinely laugh. That’s when you snap the shutter and brag about the images later (you’ll want to tell everyone beforehand to keep looking at the camera!). Remember: Loud, fake laughter is usually followed by genuine laughs and smiles.

Holiday Memories

I don’t know about you, but many of my best memories of family and friends are from the holidays. My family hasn’t always made it a priority to take family photos when we all get together each year, so I don’t have photos, much less high-quality portraits, of my family from earlier in my life. I truly wish I had more photographs of my grandparents from the holidays . . . images I’ll never be able to capture again! They are only sweet, fading memories.

My advice: Be intentional about taking and sharing photos of your family during the upcoming holidays. If you are able, hire a professional photographer to capture great family portraits of you to treasure in the future and share with future generations.

We’d love to create great portraits of you and your loved ones, but even if it’s not us, make it a priority during the upcoming holidays to do so.

If we can help, let us know! Our number is (865) 229-6673 you can email us here: ben@knoxvilleportraits.com.

Happy Holidays!

– Ben

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