Holiday Photo Tip #6

Tip 6. POST PROCESSING AND PRINTING.

Ok, you’ve taken some great shots this holiday season!  Now what?  Most of us use our digital photos to share on social media like Instagram or Facebook.  Both of those sites compress the images to save space so all of your hard work may not look as awesome as they did on your screen but they are still the best way to share photos with your friends and family. 

Some photographers have used Flickr or SmugMug to share their images; these sites display your images with much better quality and user experience but they don’t integrate as seamlessly with with your social media, however you can still add a link to a Facebook post.   If you want to  share images privately, email or messenger the links from these photo sharing sites with your group.  Of the two sites, SmugMug  provides ways for your family and friends to easily order prints directly from their site.

PRINTING RECOMMENDATION: For printing and framing, I’ve used Framebridge.com and I really loved their prices and user interface.  They provide custom framing so if you have a non-standard size image, they can build a custom Mat and Frame for it.  They’ll also frame pretty much anything so if you have a physical item or memorabilia you can send that to them and create a custom frame or frame box for it.   

POST PROCESSING: For you professional amateurs in the group with nice cameras I have one piece of advice for you: Shoot everything in RAW format so you can make those critical adjustments in Adobe Bridge or Lightroom. You’ll be able to fix the white balance, exposure or color in a more fine-tuned way.  After you’ve worked your magic you can export them as JPG files for easy uploading to social media or for prints and enlargements.

If you’re an iPhone user, the best App to buy for your post processing is  “Camera Plus”. 

If you are signed up for the Adobe CreativeCloud, you can try Photoshop Express or Photoshop Fix.  

You can print up to 8X10 with your iPhone photos with pretty good quality and there are plenty of websites that offer quality prints and reasonable prices.

I hope these tips were helpful!  Happy Holidays to everyone…go out and take some great shots!

joe

Holiday Photo Tip #5

Tip 5.  CHECK YOUR ANGLE AND AVOID THE ZOOM. 

The angle you choose can say a lot about the photo. 

Give a little thought on the angle you’d like.  Taking a photo of a group from a “slightly” higher vantage point can be a more flattering angle for everyone. For a more extreme angle, try taking some shots from a chair looking down.  For group photos, try not to shoot UP at your subjects.  This is also super helpful when you’re taking a photo of everyone sitting at the dinner table; If you get up higher you can get everyone faces in the frame (no one will be hidden behind anyone else) as well as getting a good shot of the food on the table.   Have them all lean in just a bit and you’ve got a really well framed shot!

For iPhone users, the zoom feature on your phone isn’t very good.  Instead, walk closer to your subjects and frame them perfectly in your screen.  (If you plan to crop your photo to a standard print size leave a little room on all sides – * see tip #4)  Even for experienced photographers with a zoom lens – when you’re zoomed in it’ll create a nice depth of field but you’re also prone to camera shake and blurry photos. Make sure you have a fast shutter speed to avoid the shakes.  But when possible for group shots, don’t zoom and just move closer to your subjects.

Six Holiday Photo Tips – #4

Tip 4. POSES.

Posing people for a photo is tough.  They’re going to be looking to you for some direction and it helps if you  have a few ideas, otherwise they’ll just stand there staring at you with blank faces  :0)

A few suggestions:

  • Make sure they get close together. If they’re too far apart it can look like they don’t really like each other. LOL   This will also help you with cropping a photo to a standard size.  *
  • Put the family elders in the middle and have their kids around them.
  • Separate them into small groups.
  • Stagger the tallest in the back or have the kids sit on the ground.
  • If you have things to lean on (like a lamp post or railing) use it.  If you have objects for them to interact with, something meaningful or fun for the group like presents, cocktails or anything fun, bring those out and play with with them.
  • Also: Be ready for spontaneity. Sometimes the best photos come when people don’t know it’s coming; they happen between shots. Look for those moments! You’ll catch people laughing, goofing around or being silly. These moments can be the most precious. A.B.S = Always be shooting! You never know what you’ll capture.

* If you think you’d like to print the photos: frame your shot with a little room on all sides so you can crop the photo. (roughly: a little on the top and bottom and a bit more on the sides) Most digital cameras, including iPhone photos are 4:3 ratio so if you want to crop these photos to a standard 8×10 crop, make sure you leave that room to crop it the way you want.

Next week:  CHECK YOUR ANGLE AND AVOID THE ZOOM.

Six Holiday Photo Tips – Tip #3

Tip 3. LET THEM KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.

Shooting a big group can be challenging. Let’s face it, most people don’t like getting their photo taken and when you put them in a big group, a few of them can get impatient with the process. Let them know what to expect; tell them how many shots you’re going to take. If they know that you’re shooting a dozen shots to make sure their eyes are open and they all look fabulous it helps – everyone wants to look good.  If it’s a simple shot with one pose – take about 10 shots.  If you have an energetic group that wants to have fun or you have a few poses or actions to do, take 20 or more.

If you have an action; like, for instance, everyone jumping or a specific theme in mind, get them on board with it. Sell your idea,  get them to visualize the photo.  I find that if they know what’s coming and they understand where you’re coming from they will have more fun with it.

Be open to suggestions – you may know exactly how you want to shoot a group but if you stay in the moment, sometimes the energy and suggestions of the group can uncover some really fun photo ideas.

Make sure they all know to look directly into the camera – I know that seems obvious but once I’ve downloaded the photos, you’d be surprised how many people are looking off to the side or distracted by something.

Make the process fun for yourself and for everyone in the group and you’ll end up with some really exciting photos!

Next post:  POSES.

Six Holiday Photo Tips – Tip #2

Tip 2. TAKE SOME TIME TO SCOUT.

Do some scouting before you gather your group. It can be a little stressful to wrangle a small group for a photo so if it falls upon you to take the family photos, take some time, go outside and scout for the best places to shoot. I actually like this process quite a bit.  It kind of meditative and it gives me a little time to feel centered and visualize the shots.  Plus it gives me a little break from the energy of the group.  Find the best light and the nicest backgrounds. Take a look at the background to see if anything will be sticking up or across people’s heads. Take some test shots to see how you like the background and the quality of light (See tip #1 for finding the best light).   Maybe find one willing test subject and put them in different locations for test shots.

A few other things to pay attention to:  If the background is really overblown and too bright.   Are there poles, branches or signs that might stick out of the top of people’s heads when you crop the photo?  Simple backgrounds are usually the best.

Advanced tip: Play with depth of field. If you can, pull your subjects away from the background far enough so it falls blurry behind them. You want to make sure everyone is in focus so make sure your F-stop is at least 5.6 or higher but keeping the background far enough away will help in making it soft focus.

 

Next week:  LET THEM KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.