The holidays are here again and there is no better way than taking out that camera and phone simply to record unique and beautiful moments. Considering all the events and visits to the countryside that are going on, there a lot of opportunities to frame that rare shot; if only simply to give more muscle to your portfolio. We have a few tips for you on how to properly take the best photos this festive season that will even help you get return clients for the New Year. Take out your notebook and let us have a look at a few tricks:
- Capture Surprise.
Emotions are key when it comes to holiday photos. If you have a look at the majority of billboards and adverts going around this season, they have that element of surprise. It could be your grandmother as soon as she sees how big you’ve grown and it could even be fans at a concert. It could be kids as they open presents or street urchins when they are bought supper. You need to be always keen and ready to capture such moments since surprise cannot be faked or posed. This is when you will really know the need for fast and sharper lenses although even kit lenses can do a good job if you know your settings.
- Build A Rapport.
A common problem with street and event photographers has been being creepy. They are always taking photos of unsuspecting people without even as much as pleasantries. Many people get offended when they see that a huge DSLR is throwing bright light from a flash out of the blues and without any warning. They may even be a couple who will feel their privacy being invaded. This is the reason for this tip. It is essential to build a rapport with your subject before you click the shutter. Approach people with a handshake or a simple, “Hello, can I take your photo.” This makes you look like a professional even if you are a student. The people you are talking to may even ask for your business card for future assignments. I’m sure you too would not like photos being taken of you unawares.
- Get that Bokeh.
With all the Christmas lights and décor all over the place, who wouldn’t like to blur that background to give that breathtaking bokeh? Whether it’s a street portrait or a family photo, you can never go wrong with bokeh. With the understanding of focal length, distance between subject and background plus light, practically any lens can give you bokeh nowadays; although zoom and primes give the very best. This is when you want to go to Pinterest and Instagram to get the best inspiration in order to get some pretty amazing shots.
- Move in closer.
For some reason, many people do not realize the power of close ups. Maybe they don’t study photography keenly and see how some of the best out there tell such beautiful stories by moving in closer. Even when you do not have a zoom lens, your legs can help you zoom by simply getting in closer. If you are shooting a baby, how about you just capture the face? If you are shooting a pet, how about you just capture the eyes? If you are shooting an old person, how about you capture the wrinkles on their skin? Try it and see how powerful it is.
- Give the gift of a photograph.
Many of us are hard disk photographers; especially when it comes to our next of kin. This Christmas, we should do more prints and give our family and friends gifts that are actually photos. I know with smart phones and all, this may feel pointless but you have no idea how special that print, mount or photo book can be. What about those kids in those children’s homes? Volunteer and take photos and spread the joy with those children. It could even be street children or those who have hearing impairment. You have no idea the smiles your photos can create.
- Plan your shot.
Last but not least; planning. Many of us are shutter happy and do not plan our shots before we take them. Have you ever heard of a mood board? Professionals do research and compile inspiration as they plan for their shoot. These could be drawings or even magazine cut outs that they then use and reference when they are shooting. Planning your shot could also involve noting down which types of shots you want to take, which lenses you will need, number of batteries and memory cards for a particular assignment. This is really imperative and will help you take the best shot.
There you have it; six tips that will help you create the best memories this festive season. Most of all, don’t forget to have fun. Photography is not about rules, it is about telling stories in the best way we can. As we wish you happy holidays with a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, we would like you to know that this is the best time to grow your portfolio. Cheers!