Holiday Photo Tips from Jennifer Loomis
How to take professional looking photos of your child and baby
• Pick the right time for your children. You and your children need to be at your best during the shoot, so don’t attempt to try a family portrait when everyone is hungry and tired.
• Set up a home studio. Create a studio-like setting in your house or outside your house. Clear away the clutter, put away toys, and remove anything else that is distracting from the area or background, such as plants and chairs. Near the tree, or in front of the fireplace are classic. But use the stairs in your house if you have a large family. Outside look for a tree that doesn’t have cars or other houses behind it. Sitting on the front steps or porch are also classic.
• Dress for the holiday! If it is a holiday card, then get festive and colorful, but avoid words or branding. Patterns and stripes can also be distracting, but be you.
• Use props. Santa’s hats, on everyone including the dog, have made fun family photos in the past for my clients. Or if there is something that is important to a child, such as a teddy bear or blanket, I recommend taking a few pictures with the item to capture the memory.
• Focus on the eyes. Don’t get too far back, let the eyes of your family shine. Experiment shooting wide angle lens, medium angle lens and then go tight on the faces. See what you like.
• The holidays are about relationships. Try to capture those relationships by having children hug, or parents hug or having some kind of fun interaction. Make a photo that shows your awesome family.
• Include yourself. If you are always the photographer, then it is time to invest in a tripod so you too can be in the holiday card. Experiment with your camera’s timer. Compose your shot, set the timer and then press the shutter.
• Get creative and experiment with lighting. Try turning off the lights and using your flash with just the Christmas tree lights on or a fire in the fire place and position the kids off to one side and let that light their faces.
• Recommended settings. Inside you can set your ISO to 400 and still probably be able to shoot between f3.5 and F5.6 and shutter speed of 1/60-1/125. I don’t recommend hand-holding your camera at a shutter speed below 1/60th.
© 2013 Jennifer Loomis Photography
Jennifer Loomis (www.jenniferloomis.dev) has photographed more than 2000 pregnant women and families with studios in SF, Seattle and NY. Her first book, Portraits of Pregnancy: The Birth of a Mother (Sentient, May 2009, $24.95), is an inspiring compilation of portraits of pregnant women and their heartfelt transformative journeys to becoming mothers.