Photographing the holidays

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Family celebrations, Christmas trees and lights and opening presents can all offer some great photo opportunities through the next week. Here are a few tips from The Tennessee Magazine editor Robin Conover to make capturing those moments easier and less stressful.

Checklist

  • Camera – charge all batteries and keep extras on hand
  • Media – make sure there’s enough space on your digital media card for more photos.
  • Tripod and/or remote cable release – you want to be in the photos, too.

Photo Opportunities

Try to make a mental checklist of shots you want to catch in the next few days.

Those might include various family photos with several generations, Christmas decorations, the turkey, napping family members and the priceless expressions of children opening presents.

Photography Techniques

Flash: Direct flash is the most harsh and unsuccessful light for good photographs. On most cameras there is an option to turn the flash off. If you have enough existing light you may want to experiment some with the flash off to see how it looks. You could also try increasing the ISO to use less direct flash. For more light, try turning on more lights in the room and opening curtains or shades to let in more natural light.

Family Portrait: Photograph your family in as much natural light as you can. Go outside on the porch or in the yard to use daylight. Early morning or late afternoon light is the best. Avoid mid-day sun as the light is directly above and casts harsh shadows. Always shoot more than one frame just in case someone closes their eyes.

Composition: Try to keep the background as simple as possible. Get close to your subject, cropping out excess background.

Angles: Tell your story with various distances and angles. Shoot close-up, medium and wide-angle shots. Each can tell part of the story from different perspectives. An example of this might be taking a close-up of a package before opening, a medium shot showing the recipients expression and a wider shot of them showing it to people in the room.

Sharing: Don’t just leave the images on your phone or camera. Take the time to download to a format you can share. Send prints to family members or share on a digital platform like Facebook or Snapfish.


Robin Conover has spent the last 23 years documenting the people and places of Tennessee with The Tennessee Magazine. Her interest in preserving the environment and Tennessee’s beautiful natural areas has led her down many miles of trails to capture thousands of images. Robin’s images can be seen in greeting cards, calendars, books and at a few fine-art shows she participates in each year.

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About Author

Robin Conover

Robin Conover has spent the last 23 years documenting the people and places of Tennessee with The Tennessee Magazine. After graduating from Murray State University, Robin began working for magazine in October 1988 as a communications specialist and photojournalist. She now serves as TECA vice president of communications and editor of The Tennessee Magazine. Her interest in preserving the environment and Tennessee’s beautiful natural areas has led her down many miles of trails to capture thousands of images. Robin is currently a board member of the Friends of Radnor Lake, a nonprofit in Nashville. Robin’s images can be seen in greeting cards, calendars, books and at a few fine-art shows she participates in each year.

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