December 7, 2010

Christmas Card Photos

I thought I would use today to give a few helpful tips of how to get great Christmas card photos of your kids.  I snapped these photos of my kids this past weekend.  You probably can't tell that both of them are suffering from colds, had runny noses and one also had a stomach bug and had thrown up twice that day.

Here are my tips for you:
1.  If your kids don't like to get dressed up, wait til the last minute to change them.  My older son, Maben hates collared shirts with a passion!
2.  Use a location for your photo shoot that your children are familiar with.  With preschoolers and toddlers, they are fascinated by anything new and will not want to be focusing on your camera if there are other things more interesting to focus on.  My photos were taken with my kids sitting in front of my neighbors house.

3.  Choose your time of day based on light and your kids schedule.  I know these two things are hard to get to meet up sometimes.  I was thankful that it was very cloudy, otherwise a photo at 2 in the afternoon would have had too many harsh shadows to take a great photo.  Typically the best time of day to shoot is a couple hours after sunrise and a couple hours before sunset if you are doing outdoor shooting. 
4.  Keep your photo shoot short and to the point!  Kids have a super short attention span.  I took 20 photos in less than 5 minutes and we were done.  If your kids start getting restless, you might as well throw in the towel and come back to it.  It will keep both you and the kids stress and tear free.

5.  Get to know your camera!  It will help you be able to snap photos much faster and rely less on your automatic settings, which won't always give you the best photograph. 
6.  Find ways to get your children to look at the camera without demanding that they look at you.  I personally bust out as many funny sounding noises that I can come up with.  It gets my kids to look directly at me, smile and sometimes even laugh.  Sometimes a favorite toy or even a person other than you to focus on helps.

7.  Edit your photos!  Sometimes all it takes for a decent photo to be great is a little tweaking.  I use Photoshop Elements and Picasa.  Picasa is free and does a lot of basic fixes.  It's worth it to invest your time in a program like this.

Happy Holidays to everyone, I hope you get great photos to send out to all your friends, family and coworkers.

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