Snapshot Tips For The Holidays

Snapshot Tips Have you ever been at a family gathering, vacation, reunion, Christmas, anniversary or birthday party, or some other function happily posing for photo after photo, with this one family member or friend who goes to great lengths to put everyone in place and then takes hundreds of photos from every angle imaginable?

After all the flashes in your face or being scorched by the sun for hours, and the prodding from the so-called “photo guru wannabe,” when the photos finally come back, either your eyes are closed, your head is cut off, some genius was running in front the camera just when the shot was taken, or the entire picture is black from overexposure.

The bottom line is that there is no point having 500 photos with Aunty Eunice’s head cut off, or your new baby looking so blurred you are unable to tell what sex it is.

I have some good news:  it does not have to be that painful. For those of us who love being on both sides of the camera, or simply enjoy recording those precious moments in our lives like the birthday parties or the moment your daughter opens her first Christmas gift or takes her first step, or that moment when your spouse sees his/her newborn for the first time, there are a few little things that you can do to make the whole photographic experience into the most memorable snapshot ever: taking photos

* First and foremost, if you are not a professional photographer or you are just a simple novice like me, do not give false impressions - do get yourself a simple, uncomplicated camera.  If all else fails, all you have to do is point and click. If you must have a high-tech camera, please read the manual before you make a fool of yourself.

* Make sure the camera’s battery is fully charged and that you have backup batteries.  If it is a digital camera, please ensure you have a memory card or that there is enough space for storing the new photos you plan to take.  If it’s not digital, do ensure that there is film in the camera before you actually start taking pictures, and have extra rolls available.

* If it is that important, take lots and lots of photos. When you’re all done, at least a couple will be worth keeping. Plus, each person will have his/her own preference. Someone may not be smiling as broadly in one as he is in another, or the pose was not quite perfect, so when there are lots to chose from, it is very likely that you may be able to make most of them happy. Just take the best pictures you can, and lots of them, because there will always be somebody blinking.

* If there are children involved, shoot first and ask questions later. Don’t expect them to keep still or smile when you tell them to, because they won’t.  You will only have a small window of opportunity to capture that magic moment, so take a lot of pictures.  It will be well worth the effort.

* Know when to use the flash. I could never understand for the life of me why a bunch of people standing in the hot sun posing for a picture are further subjected to flash after flash from the photographer.  Read your manual. There are certain situations that require the use of flash, both indoors and outdoors, and this can often mean the difference between a masterpiece and a waste of time.

* Zoom in. If your photos involve using a timer so that you can jump in, get close and zoom it.  Getting a good shot of the faces is really important.

* Keep things simple. Capturing the moment… getting everyone into the photo and highlighting the beautiful family relationship, is what is important, so do not go setting up props or go on a never-ending search for the perfect background.

* Lastly, be patient and understanding. Just remember that if you end up spending five hours taking 1,000 photos, that it is the experience, the bonding and everlasting memories that will come from the 10 good ones in the bunch.  Consider it a labour of love.

Before you get started, though, read the user manual for your camera.  Once you have it covered, you should be good to go. It is not the camera that makes beautiful pictures; it's the photographer – you!

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