It's Hanukkah this week and the Christmas season is already in full swing! We've already visited our annual Nativity exhibitions this week both at the Creche of Palo Alto and at A Night In Bethlehem in Santa Clara. We are also planning on visiting the Holiday Train at Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos. We might even brave the crowds to see Christmas in the Park at Downtown San Jose this year (we'll see if the introverts in my family can handle it!).
We are still new to the Bay Area so we're still learning about all of the most fun holiday events so feel free to tell me your favorite activity that your family does every year in the comments (especially celebrating Hanukkah, I have know idea where those events might be held, but I'd love to visit!!)!
Anyways. On to today's topic. With all of these holiday happenings I think it's important to take photos when you can to capture the magic on your child's face so you can remember it in the years to come. Here's my top tips for taking a better photo!
1. Watch your light! The biggest photo mistake (especially with babies) I see on my Instagram and Facebook feeds happen when the child has been lit from the bottom of their face. It's called up-lighting or ghoul lighting (yikes!) and it's a big no no. The best light should come from top of the face ideally from about a 45 degree angle and either from the front or either side (the light from behind is called back-lighting and can be tricky but doable with practice). (see my... quirky... stick figure guide for what I mean)
2. Don’t ask them to smile. There's nothing more cheesy than a child that's told to say "cheese!" (pun intended!). Just let them be kids and have fun. Let them enjoy the moment. If you do want them to look at the camera (and at you!) ask them questions, sing a song or do something silly! Make it fun! Start a tickle fight. If they have siblings have them do bear hugs. And if all else fails... bribe! No punishments though, those will just inspire resentment for future photos. :(
3. Focus and expose (balance the light on the subject) on the face (eyes or mouth area). If you're using a phone camera this can sometimes be tricky but click on the screen for where you want to focus (and expose at the same time). If you're using a DSLR try shooting in Program mode and use selective focus. (I wish I had time to share more DSLR tips, but that would take a lot more time than I have now in one post!)
4. Avoid flash if you can. A camera flash can be useful for freezing moments but most flashes that are attached to the camera are too close to the lens so the flash's light is quite harsh and flat on your subject. If you need more light in your photo get creative. Use a lamp or even a flashlight pointed towards the face (light needs to be above as in the diagram indicates). Use window light (open those blinds and curtains!). Turn on all the lights!
5. Know when to put your camera down. This might sound crazy but sometimes your kids just need you to have fun with them without something between you. It's okay to let go of capturing the perfect moment. Sometimes the moment even becomes more memorable. Trust your instincts and your children's instincts to let you know when to join them instead of photographing them.
And the most important bonus tip this holiday season: absolutely do NOT wrap your child (or anyone!) in Christmas lights. While cute and "pinterest worthy" it is dangerous. Wires can fray. Bulbs can break.
Glass + electricity = very dangerous. Add in possible baby drool and it's a recipe for disaster.
Please don't do it. Just say no.
This blog will feature new parent advice, what to expect when working with my business, as well as an ongoing series about safety when interacting with newborns
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