Saturday, December 7, 2013

Taking Christmas Card Photos

I'm not a professional photographer and most people aren't but I do love taking pictures of my kids.   One of the things I enjoy each year is getting that great picture for our Christmas cards.  I use a Canon Rebel T2i for most of my shots.  It's a great beginner DSLR.
It's important that you go into this with low expectations and a sense of humor.  The kids need to feel your sense of calm and believe me it took having 4 kids to realize this. It has gotten easier every year believe it or not.  Below is a photo shoot that I did two years ago when our youngest was 6 months old-oh yea and trying to get our dog in it too.-tee hee

I think we ended up with this one. Minus our dog but baby is smiling.

Four things that are important to me when I take the pic.

1. What are are the kids wearing?? 
They don't have to be matchy, matchy but I try to choose something complimentary.

2. Location is also very important.  
Will the kids be inside or out?  Photos are best taken in places where there is little visual background distraction. The focus of the photos should be of the children not the cars or cluttered counter tops. When outdoors chose a place with soft grasses, beautiful trees, front steps, or simply a textured wall.   

3. Lighting is equally important.  
Since I don't have all of the equipment that a professional would bring to a shoot, I rely on the time of day in order to achieve the best light.  Just before sunset is the best time to capture the natural golden hour glow for outdoor photography.  No harsh flashes necessary.
I also have a few places inside our home that have great natural light.  Choose locations in your home near large windows or glass doors.  Once again-no flashes necessary when you have your kiddos in the right light.

4. Lastly, editing is important for minor imperfections and enhancing color.  
I like to use Photoshop Elements and Pic Monkey.  They both have easy editing options and for me editing needs to be easy.
You can change color to black and white, whiten smiles, erase scabs on knees, and the list goes on.

Once I have taken a billion photos and the kids are beyond restless, it's time to pack it up and choose one or some.  This year I decided to do a collage card and I chose 5 pics.  I used to enjoying making all of our cards but with everything going on in the month of December I decided that ordering cards was much easier and saved me a ton of time.  There are so many options and the designs are fantastic. With sites like Minted and Tiny Prints you can upload photos and choose your card in a matter of minutes.  They both have great sales going on now.  Easy and speedy-perfect for this time of year when I'm trying to cross a gazillion things off my long list of to-dos.
So get out there and take that photo, time is running out.  Or just have a good friend over and take one of the whole fam. Below is our family when our 3rd was just 4weeks old.

Good luck-you'll do great! 

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