Capture great photos for your holiday cards

From now to December is a time for celebration and whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwaanza or Hanukkah, chances are that your house will be filled with fun and laughter and a decoration or two at least.

This fun time of the year is ripe for photographing opportunities and Christmas itself is one of the most popular topics for photography. To ensure you have plenty of photos of family and friends to keep for posterity, over the next few weeks I’ll be posting my best tips for capturing seasonal images.

My shopping list for seasonal photos starts with the months leading up to Christmas and includes taking photos for the Christmas cards.

This is a great time to get started, gather everyone together, find a great place to shoot and get to work. It helps if everyone is coordinated clothing-wise – it doesn’t have to be white shirts and dark trousers (and is probably best not to be), but it is best to avoid shirts with advertising and obvious graphics. So go plain rather than fancy and make sure everyone’s colors if they aren’t the same at least work together as a group. If you want to do so, grab some Christmas hats to illustrate the season.

These photos should be fun so approach the task with plenty of time to enjoy the process. Have toys to entertain small kids and water and snacks for everyone.

A good place to photograph is where you have an uncluttered or at least a pleasing background and somewhere to sit that is out of full sun. Photographing early morning or early evening is good if you can do so because the light is better.

Think about the aspect ratio of your cards – do you need portrait or landscape orientation images – and then shoot to this ratio because it is  cumbersome to have to change the image dimensions later on.

If you’re shooting young children then increase the ISO a bit so you can shoot faster, this will give you a good chance of capturing an image without blur and in focus. Keep shooting and take more images than you think you need, if you have young children, chances are that their eyes will be closed, they will be looking away or you won’t get them all looking good at once without some perseverance.

Shoot some single shots too – it is fun to be able to include some loose images of the kids in cards going overseas or to relatives interstate.

Finish the shoot and the final edits in plenty of time to have your cards printed and ready to write and send well before Christmas.

Helen Bradley