Taking a Better Photo this Holiday Season

The Holidays are the perfect time to snap some shots at home this year. Whether it's your puppy dog, your kids on Christmas morning, or of your friends at an ugly sweater party, shoot away! I always regret not taking enough pictures of my everyday life and the Holidays.
There are a couple of easy things you can do to take better photos this year! Or perhaps it can be a resolution for next year ;) You don't need to have an expensive camera, these tips can be done with any point and shoot.

The first rule is: THE RULE OF THIRDS

So imagine the frame of your camera split into thirds horizontally and vertically. Your photo will be more appealing to the eye if the subject of your photo either is in one third of your frame. (vertically in this case below)
Or the focus point of your subject (commonly their face), is at one of the 4 intersecting points. The photo below captures their faces at the upper right intersecting point.
It's also possible to crop your photo so that your subject is in one of these positions as well if you didn't think to take the original picture using this rule!
*[Now I'm not saying it's not possible to take a good picture without using the Rule of 3rds, there are always exceptions to the rule!*]

The second rule is : CAPTURE GOOD LIGHTING

Good lighting can make or break a photo. There is dramatic backlighting you can use at sunset, or soft morning light that will make your outdoor early photos just glow! But for the typical everyday photo whether it's indoors or outdoors you want good lighting so you can get clear, crisp photos of your subject!
Indoors: Using Flash is always a last resort for getting natural looking photos. (Unless you have an external flash and can "bounce" it off a wall...this is more advanced). So if you can turn on lights, open the window blinds and curtains or adjust your camera settings this is always best! If it is dark inside your camera will adjust to offset this and this may result in a grainy or off-colored photo.
This photo of me was taken indoors with no flash. I was facing a window that had mid-morning sun coming through it!
Outdoors: Now this is my favorite place in the world to take photos. An hour after Sunrise and an hour before Sunset is what is referred to as the "Golden Hour". This is when the sun is low enough so that you can take photos most anywhere without harsh shadows and it just seems to "glow" outside!
Photo taken during the "golden" hour in Boise, Idaho.
If you are outside taking photos during the day, try to take them in shade so that your subjects don't burn their retinas out looking into the sunshine or they are shadowed by having their backs to the sun.

The third rule is: STEADY YOURSELF

Having your photo steady and also your subjects steady will help your photo turn out crisp and beautiful. If you are taking photos of moving people or things, you can still keep the camera steady on your end [tripods are useful, or simply holding your breath], but you can also adjust your camera settings to either "sports" or to increase your shutter speed.
Photo taken at my friend's wedding when her & her husband were headed to the getaway car. I adjusted the shutter speed to be faster so they wouldn't be blurred.
There are so many other rules and tricks to taking a better picture but just these three for now! Happy Holidays!


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