Capturing the Moment: How to get the most out of family photos

This blog was presented on The Rhode Show by Tracy Martin, click here to watch! 


The holidays are such a special time to create family memories. Many families like to take formal portraits each year to look back and see how the family has grown and changed over the years. But sometimes during the hustle, bustle and stress of the day, we forget to stop and capture the moments in the present to appreciate them in the future. Here are some ways to get the most out of your photos this holiday season.

Be Mindful.

Remember to take pictures! Designate a couple of family members who are good with a camera and put them in charge of taking as many photos as possible. It’s always good to ask multiple people to take pictures so you can get different points of view and you can capture things that happen in different places at the same time. If you are using a digital camera, make sure you have extra batteries and memory storage on hand. If you are using a cell phone, make sure you charge the battery and bring your charger to holiday parties just in case. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you snap a few photos every 30 minutes.

Get Creative.

Use all different types of photos: candid shots, posed shots, portraits, group photos, silly photos and formal photos. Use all types of angles: off to the side, diagonal, long or wide. You can also consider using a go pro camera and attach it to something fun. Put a go pro on the family dog and get photos from the pet’s point of view. It would be so much fun to see where the dog goes during a family party. The more pictures, you take the better. Professional photographers will often take hundreds of shots and then pick the best picture.

You can put out fun props for your holiday guests to use in silly family photos. Put out some fake mustaches, silly hats and glasses. Use a large, empty picture frame and have your subjects hold the frame around them so it looks like a portrait of a portrait. This is a great way to get some candid pictures of the kids enjoying themselves and having fun.

Learn the Basics.

There are some simple tips and tricks to getting a good photo.

Resolution is key. Resolution is the number of dots or pixels in one square inch of the image. So a higher resolution with yield a higher quality photo. A high resolution will allow you to enlarge your photos for prints or portraits to hang around the house. While high resolution is good, it also takes up more memory space so be sure to pack extra storage.

Lighting is important. Avoid bright, overhead light like the mid-day sun on a clear day. This will create harsh shadows and will reduce contrast in the photos. Try to place your subjects in the shadows or go outside at sunset. Make sure the source of light is behind you, the photographer, and not behind your subjects, or you will see silhouettes instead of cheery, illuminated faces. When inside, try to get as much natural light as possible. Open the windows and use sunlit areas. Turn on the flash to help augment the lighting. Get in close to make sure the flash reaches your subject.

If you are using a cell phone, keep your hands steady to ensure that the camera stays in focus. Use two hands and rest your elbows against your body or another object to reduce shaking. Don’t turn your phone sideways when you take a picture. However, if you are taking a video, it’s the opposite – you do want to turn your phone sideways for video or you will get a cropped screen when you transfer the video to other devices or post it online.

Trade Pictures.

Finally, after the party is over, trade photos with your guests through email or sign up for some great photo sharing sites online. Many websites will allow you to upload your photos, share your collection with friends and order prints all in one place.

Putting in the extra effort to capture the moment with your family now will pay off in the end. While your child might not want to take a picture right now, ten years from now they will look back on the photo and remember their childhood. Thirty years from now, their children will appreciate the photos and will love learning about family holidays before they were born!

This article was written by Miss Jamie. Jamie joined The Children’s Workshop team in 2012. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film with a concentration in Production and a minor in Marketing Communications from Emerson College.  She is currently working towards her Master of Science in Communications with a concentration in Integrated Marketing Communications at Lasell College. Jamie brings a diverse background of experience to the Marketing Team, and she is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children.