Christmas and Christmas parties mean bringing together many families and friends. And bringing the family together usually means many, many pictures! Here are some of our favorite tips for taking better pictures during the holidays.
You can use a small digital camera, your smartphone, or a DSLR. It does not matter because the principles of photography are very similar regardless of the equipment used. With these few tips, you can enhance your family photos and have the perfect Christmas pictures that your whole family asks for a copy.
First Shoot Test Shots
Before people show up, take a few shots of the ambient light in the room. Using manual settings is especially useful because you can find the best aperture, ISO, and shutter speed settings for your pictures before your family comes.
Although the light falls through the windows, it is likely to change after a few hours, electric lights do not fluctuate. Therefore, you should be able to stay within a range of settings, provided you stay indoors and in similar lighting settings.
You can also use these test shots to think about possible compositions for your photos (which we will talk about) more in just a little bit).
Do not do your family
"Everyone is on the couch. Smile. Say "cheese" and look happy! "Pose pictures are unnatural and do not show much, except that your family pretends to smile, you probably will not be able to avoid taking at least one such picture at each family reunion, but it does not present the event very well. 19659002]
Start family photography like a photojournalist There's one important event and you try to capture it right away Laughing the baby Did grandpa fall asleep? Dad sneaked outside to smoke and smoke It can be far richer and more enjoyable to look back on these pictures to see people as they were and to do their own things – when you pose pictures, you just grasp the fact that they are there were, and smiled stiffly.
Think of Light
The first rule concerns the photographing of light. How is the room you are in lit up? Is it dark or dark? Is bright light coming out of the windows? Is there a warm light from bulbs, lamps or Christmas decorations?
Illumination is probably the most important part of good imagery and can create or break it. Pay attention to the colors in the room and use different settings to capture them.
At a minimum, try to make sure your subjects are not damaged by backlighting or flashed brightly against a black shadow background.  Do not be afraid of manual settings
The manual settings for ISO, aperture and shutter speed are not complicated when you learn about the elements of the exposure. It is no shame to use automatic settings. They are very useful in situations where light, people and environment change quickly. However, there are images for which an automatic shot does not have the artistic nuance you need. This is especially true if you want to capture warm, soft, bright light from Christmas decorations and low-light environments. In this case, manual adjustments are sometimes the only way.
Some cameras do not have an "M" for manual adjustment. These can have a "P" for the progam mode. Familiarize yourself with the camera, play with the camera and take test shots before the big Christmas party. Do not be afraid to experiment and confuse a few dozen hits! If manual editing is still a big fight, auto-tuning is just a few clicks away. You can even manually control the camera of your iPhone.
Even better, if you are using a DSLR camera, you can try a semi-automatic mode, such as Aperture Priority, which sets the aperture and ISO, but lets the camera adjust the exposure time based on the light meter.
Exposure bracketing is an important word in the photographer's vocabulary. Since digital photography has made taking a lot of pictures so cheap, take as many as possible with you. Remember that this moment will never happen again. Therefore, it is better to take the same image twenty times and select the best image, than to take it once and wish you had a better shot.
RELATED: How to Take Better Photos in Burst Mode
Be a Storyteller
Do you remember when we talked about not giving up your family? The photojournalist metaphor still applies. When taking pictures, you should consider them with the result. A good photo should tell a story, even if it's a small one, and you should think about the story you're telling when recording.
What are the people in your pictures [19459021 doing? Do you chop vegetables, unpack gifts, watch TV or blow up on eggnog? People are one of the most powerful motives that can be photographed because we can instantly feel compassion for them and relate to what they are doing. Capture facial expressions and events, actions, happiness, tears and laughter. If you tell a story with your pictures, you can easily return to that moment, even if you are not a seasoned photographer.
Pay attention to the composition
You may not be an artist, but photography is a visual art form. Again you have to start with the end. Think visually when shooting. Learn about the golden mean ratio and the rule of thirds to learn how to make your shots look more interesting.
Too abstract? Take only pictures of the motives you want for your final shot. Do not stand across the room and get many details in the shot that will not help the photo. When taking pictures of the children, take one knee and rise to the height so that all your shots are not upside down. Do not always put your subject in the middle of the picture because it gets boring, especially if you show your pictures later.
And if you want to move your composition beyond the simple rule of thirds, learn how to use the guides in your room and how to use foreground and background to make your photos stronger. Do you remember when we talked about test shots in your house before the guests arrived? This is also the perfect time to think about how to use the natural compositional elements in your room.
RELATED: What is composition in photography?
Try it with and without flash
When you take pictures, you usually shoot the same picture with multiple aperture or shutter speed settings to make sure you're exposing properly. With digital cameras, you immediately have a good idea as to whether you have exposed the picture well or not. Therefore, try to mark the image with and without flashing, especially if you are using the automatic setting.
To capture the exposure while photographing
Use a tripod if you must
It's not good for shooting like a photojournalist. However, if you use a tripod, slow shutter speeds can capture the light of darker environments. Christmas trees and dim light can look pretty good during long exposures. So if you want to pose your family, take advantage of the fact that they sit still for so long and set up the tripod!
RELATED: Selecting and Using a Tripod
Using the Lowest Possible ISO Setting in Dark Spaces
The lower the ISO value, the less grains you get in low light conditions. If you have many of them, using an ISO of 200, 400, or 800 for graininess is better than 1600 or higher. You may need to balance lower ISO settings with slower shutter speeds and a tripod, but you can prevent your images from becoming grainy.
RELATED: What is the ISO setting of your camera?
Bonus Tip: If it's not perfect, Photoshop It!
We said it earlier: This moment is special … and you will never be able to get back to it. If your shots are not perfectly exposed, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or GIMP will give you the tools to make them better. You could take a great composition of a cute moment, but notice that the exposure settings are not perfect or the white balance deviates a bit. While you should hope to perfectly expose images every time, this is unlikely, especially if you are picky about your pictures. Here are our favorite HTG articles on using Photoshop to enhance your photos:
Photo credits: Murillo Cardoso, Zolakoma, Ewen Roberts, Jeffrey Smith, Phil Campbell, Rebecca Peplinski, Kung FuStu, Greg Wagoner, Phong Nguyen , Brad Trump Photography, Deana, Duane Schoon, Liam Burke and Kevin Dooley, all through Flickr, available at Creative Commons.