For so many families, the year is is plotted and planned out around annual holidays. Between family, friends, and school activities, our lives circle around the calendar of holidays. Whatever the rituals and traditions that remain constant, each year is a little different from the next. You might find that capturing each holiday and what it means from year to year is a creative way to express the life of your family.
More often than not, people choose to document these momentous occasions through posed shots, pretty faces, and new outfits. But, don’t overlook the genuineness of the holidays. Yes, they can be overwhelming (and, quite frankly, overrated), but they can also bring magic and a sense of wonder and a chance to see the world through new eyes—your child’s eyes. If we can take this approach as we document holidays, we can make the images that will tell the stories of what holidays are really about. And focusing on joy and beauty is one way to celebrate through a lens of gratitude.
Thinking about flash
It can be a challenge to shoot with a flash indoors and still get the ambiance and enchantment of the moment. Although your camera’s flash can be inconsistent and difficult to get down to a science, you can try the tissue-paper trick to give you softer and more even light. Just cover it with a sheet of tissue paper to create a more diffuse light.
If you have an external flash (one you bought separately that you mount on your camera), you have a little more flexibility. ‘Bouncing’ your flash off of the ceiling or a nearby wall softens the light from the flash, giving you a soft, natural result. It’s as simple as pointing your flash away from your subject and toward a nearby surface (light-coloured walls are ideal).
Taking a documentary approach
Consider taking a documentary approach to your holiday photographs. When you become the observer (and not the prompting photographer) you can capture the kinds of natural moments that make actual memories.
When kids are consumed by an activity (such as collecting Easter eggs or decorating a Christmas tree) you can capture natural and earnest expressions of what the season, and they, are all about.
Allowing your children to enjoy their own process (whatever it may be), you can afford yourself some time to get creative with your angle and composition as you shoot them ‘in their own world.’ Don’t be afraid to get up close, or get down on their level. When you relax and let children be themselves, you let photographic miracles happen.
In Elevate the Everyday, Tracey Clark shows how each day of our lives is full of potential for great photography. Focusing on the moments that are most precious to us, she offers a host of inspirational ideas enabling the reader’s photographic achievements to grow, turning the incidents in a family’s life – arrivals, departures, childhood, and parties – into beautiful, captivating images that will stand the test of time. Most of all, learn to turn the ordinary and everyday into the extraordinary with this unique guide to picturing motherhood.
Elevate the Everyday by Tracey Clark
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