Get The Holiday Photos You’ve Always Wanted

By Christine Spong & Rick Goedecke of Geddes International shutterstock_69796273 250

With the Holidays coming up, we’ve definitely got a lot on our plates. We’re dreaming of the picture perfect holidays, food, decorations, parties and gifts. When it comes to the pictures, though, they just aren’t so perfect. After fighting to get everyone in place and get all your props and surroundings just how you want,the lighting is all wrong, the kids refused to smile and then they moved the second you tried to snap the photo!Sound familiar? It sounds familiar to me too.

I recently sat down with Rick Goedecke of Geddes International Baby Photography; I mentioned how I felt like managing to get good photos felt like I had won the lottery, and how I wasn’t sure moseying away from “auto” was a good idea. The auto setting is where I stay. It makes sense to me, *click* and you’re done. If it doesn’t turn out, it must be the camera’s fault because I had it on auto!

Rick smiled and mused, “That’s one of the most common thing I hear ‘I hope it turns out’. Most people don’t realize that just by getting to know their camera and using a few tricks they really can control the outcome of their photos.”

Ready! Aim! Shoot! The kids moved out of the picture

One of the most common challenges moms have reported with getting good photos is keeping the kids still, happy and in position. While making sure your expectations are realistic, there are a few sure ways to get a good shot.

Plan out your posed photos and set up the area you will be shooting ahead of time. If you have a tripod, it can definitely help make things a little simpler.

Take a test picture without the kids there to be sure the lighting is just right, everything is in place and it is just how you pictured it.

When it comes to pictures and posing, kids can burn out quickly, sitting still for 5 minutes can seem like hours. Try to keep things fun and light, let them be a little silly (sometimes those can be the best moments you can capture), be natural and don’t stop clicking! You can clear out the ones you don’t like later, but you can miss the best moments looking at the photos you’ve just taken.

Babies tend to get distracted by the camera, so it helps to have a toy you can hold off to the side or a partner stand beside you and make them smile, keeping the attention off you and the camera.

Turn on all the lights… Still too dark!

Bad lighting or dark pictures are often caused by simple camera settings. Whether you’re using an SLR or a simple point & shoot camera, you need to know a few of your settings on your camera to make some simple yet effective changes.

Find your ISO setting (I promise, ISO doesn’t mean ‘I’m so overwhelmed’). Simply put, it’s a setting that will make your camera more sensitive to light. The higher the number, the more light your camera will be able to pick up. Give it a spin and you’ll start to feel like you’re finally in control.

Once you’re comfortable with your ISO setting, here’s a tip. In situations where you feel there isn’t enough light, change your ISO to 800-1000 and then turn your White Balance to Tungsten. This should light up your room naturally and look as if it was taken with flash.

If you feel uncomfortable with your camera’s settings or you just want to build off your new-found ISO genious, here’s a creative trick to help you get professional looking lighting without having to go out and buy expensive equipment.

Find an open window with north facing light and have your subject as close to the window as you can (never use direct sunlight on or behind your subjects).  Place a white sheet or large white card on the side opposite the window beside your focus to reflect the window light back on them. Stand beside the window while shooting for your best results.

Turn your ISO setting to anything between 400-800 and you should have a wonderfully lit masterpiece.

Finally, some good shots!

When you get to know your camera and its settings, you’ve prepared and stayed realistic with your expectations and you are ready to play and be creative, you’re guaranteed to see improvements and maybe even get the photos you have been imagining! Yeah, there may still be a few funny faces here and there, but you’ve made some great memories and managed to capture them while feeling in control, knowledgeable and relaxed!

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