Want to take better pictures during the holidays…or anytime?

The holidays are upon us…just a couple more weeks and Christmas will be here. With all the parties and get-togethers on your calendar, you know you will be taking your camera along to snap some memories. So, if you’ve been less than pleased with the picture you have taken in the past, here are a few tips to help you capture some better pictures this year.


  • Direct flash is the most unattractive light there is, besides high noon sun! Creating a way to bounce your flash instead of firing it into the face of your subjects will give more desirable results.
  • If you are dealing with a small point and shoot camera you need to understand that you will have limited control over shutter speed and aperture. There are, however, some things you can do to have your end result be  more pleasing pictures. Get off AUTO! Use your camera built-in settings. If you want a shallow depth of field (meaning the foreground and background will be less in focus) use your cameras’ portrait setting. This will tell your camera to use a wider aperture and achieve the blur you desire. If you are photographing movement, use the ‘sports’ setting so your camera will use a faster shutter speed.
  • If the flash needs to fire because of low light, diffuse it. You can use something as simple as a small piece of white tissue paper taped over the flash area…you can even further diffuse it by folding it to make the tissue thicker (use caution as flashes can become hot and tissue paper could burn) Or…check out Gary Fong’s site and his Flash Diffusers. He sells an interesting flash diffuser for point and shoot cameras for around $15.
  • If you are using a DSLR with a hot shoe flash attached, point the flash up to the ceiling or to the left or right towards a wall (depending on the wall color as this will impact the color-cast given off by the flash)
  • Look for opportunities to capture candid moments…this is not achieved by yelling “hey everyone look at the camera!” but by looking for those moments when you can capture someone being natural, showing emotion, having fun. WARNING:  desirable pictures are NOT captured while people are eating!
  • Most point and shoots and some DSLR’s now have video capabilities…USE IT! Capture snippets of live action and put together your own fusion video featuring stills and video. It’s a fun way to view the results of your photography.
  • Most importantly, take your role as the ‘designated photographer’ seriously, but be certain to get in the pictures yourself as well!


It is my hope that these tips will help you be less stressed about capturing some family fun this Christmas season… The most important thing is to not let these moments pass you by because you feel inadequate in using your camera…JUST DO IT!

Merry Christmas and Happy Shooting!



May be shared with appropriate credit given, written by Lori Johnson of Radiant Images Photography LLC

About Lori Johnson, High School Senior and Wedding Photographer

Site Administrator and photographer

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