Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Can you believe it’s time to start thinking about this ALREADY? I (Casharina) can’t…this year has seriously flown by, and I know I’ve heard all my life that “the older you get, the faster it flies,” and I can truly understand that now! My little ones are growing up before my eyes; it’s amazing how fast the years have passed with them.
Okay, let’s get back to the Holidays right! I LOVE Christmas; it’s my most favorite time of the year. I love what Christmas truly means and what it represents to me and my family, I love the magic of Santa and the fun it brings, as well as the lessons we learn about giving to others, the bright colored lights found inside and outside our homes…oh how I love this time of the year!
This year I’ve been focusing on taking better everyday pictures, and with that I have been focusing on the fact that this year I want to get better Christmas morning pictures. So after practice I’m going to share with you some of the pointers I’ve learned along the way and hope that they will enable be me to get my best photos yet! ;)
First of all, to be fully prepared for the hustle and bustle of Christmas morning (or any special event) we need to ensure we’ve got things ready the evening before. This includes:
- checking that the camera battery is fully charged
- having new/clear memory cards (have another available in case you need it…I always keep an extra one or two in my bag!)
- get your camera settings ready by adjusting all of your dials to the appropriate settings for Christmas morning fun!
- if you have an external flash, make sure you have new batteries in it or extras handy. I have had batteries die so many times during a photo shoot it’s not even funny!
Without a Flash:
For us we usually get up EXTRA early in the morning…honestly I can’t sleep due to excitement for my kiddos so I’m up all night waiting for the morning, and have had to wake my oldest up for a few years! Hah. I know sad right! (My mom was the SAME way when I was little!) We’re those people who have eaten and opened gifts by 6:45 am at the latest, although this year I’m going to let em’ sleep til’ at least 7!
OK, I kinda got sidetracked! I told you about our early mornings because many times I don’t want to wake the girls up with flashes in their face, I can’t say that’d put them in a very good mood! I also don’t love the look of straight on flash so there are many options you can choose to help your photos look fantastic without the use of flash.
First you’ll want to dial up the ISO (make it a higher number…usually I leave mine on 250ish but for darker situations I’ll bring it up to 800 or so!)
- You’ll also want to make sure you have your aperture opened as wide as it’ll go. This means you’ll have the smallest f/# possible for your camera.
- You’ll also want to open your shutter speed up, ensuring that it’s not so slow that pictures are blurry.
With a Flash:
If you find that you need to use a flash, there are ways you can help avoid the harsh lights in the face, just like we’ve learned before in Rosy’s last Focus on Photos post dealing with the challenges of indoor photography. In addition to using a piece of cardstock you can also place a business card under the popup flash. This allows the light to bounce off the paper before hitting your subject head on. When using an external flash, you’ll want to bounce the flash off a wall or the ceiling to prevent the harsh light hitting the subjects face.
One thing I’m going to really try to avoid this year is worrying about “the perfect shot!” If you’re like me, you try to get the kids to look at you, wait on that perfect position of the lighting, gift, perfect little smile, all while trying to not include the trash and clutter of the morning??? Not this year. This year I want to focus on what we’re doing, in the moment. Honestly, when I look back at Christmas pictures from when my husband and I were young, it’s the clutter that really takes me back. It allows me to remember the “other” gifts and things going on at the time. I might be holding a new Barbie accessory, but in the background I can see a glimpse of a baby doll and clothes that I also received. Just because they’re in the background, I’m able to recall those special toys, those special things that didn’t make the “picture” or scrapbook, but because they’re in the background I can go back and see what I was like as a child. I want my kiddos to have the same opportunities. I plan to just keep memories this year and by that I mean taking the picture in the moment, not waiting, worrying only about getting pictures of what’s happening, and I challenge you to do the same!
Now, if it comes down to Christmas morning and your pictures just won’t look the way you want them to, forget it all and turn on Auto. You will never forget pictures you took, but you may regret the pictures you missed because you were focusing on technical details and not the photo.
To get some more great tips on photographing the holidays, check out Beckie’s posts – HERE and also HERE!! I used her tips to create the first picture in this post! I’m hoping to come some shapes to try the bokeh look too!
Don’t forget to stop back by tomorrow when Kylie updates us our November ProjectSCRAP check-in and shares the NEW December templates!!