So you got that new camera eh? Congrats! Now the whole family will expect you to be the camera guy at all of the get-togethers. Not only that, you’re probably trying to take pictures of the kids opening their gifts. Here are a few helpful tips on how to do it:
1. Sometimes, it’s okay to use auto mode – You just got the camera. Unless you’re upgrading from one DSLR to another, leave manual mode alone today. Set it to Auto, put up the flash, and let the camera make the decisions. The company that made your camera has spent millions investing in the CPU that controls Auto mode, put it to work!
2. If you have an external flash, get it off your camera – When taking portrait shots, it’s best not to use the flash that’s physically on your camera; you’ll end up with hard unflattering light. You should be able to make that external flash work remotely, or at the bare minimum bounce it off the ceiling instead of pointing it at people. Bouncing off the ceiling also means your offspring won’t have evil red eyes. Well, unless they were born that way.
3. You don’t need a tripod – Using a tripod in the house is silly. Just turn the ISO up a bit, and the camera will do just fine with less light. If you don’t know how to change your ISO yet, see tip number one. The exception to this rule is video. Unless your camera has stabilization, use a tripod. Or you’ll end up making everyone seasick with your “shakycam” holiday video.
4. Shoot low – Shots of kids opening gifts will look better if you get down on their level. So sit your butt down on the floor. You’ll end up with more natural shots, and better memories. Also, don’t wait for that “perfect” shot; remember you don’t have develop film any more so, you can delete any shots that don’t turn out how you want.
5. Have fun – Taking pictures should be fun, not an exercise in terror for your family as you make them pose into a Norman Rockwell scene. Let the kids rip and tear into those gifts; a natural looking scene will be more fun for everyone when you post them on Facebook for Aunt Faith in Mississippi to see.
Happy holidays to everyone, no matter who/how you celebrate, and have fun with your new gear!