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Ten Tips for the Family Photographer at Holiday Events

written by: Caroline Thompson•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/27/2011

Getting good pictures during the holidays is always a challenge. Use these tips and make capturing those holiday memories easier and more fun.

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    Holidays Shots to Remember

    Holiday events with the family are tough to photograph because the family photographer is part of the event. The key is to maximize the photography time, get the pictures and then enjoy the day. Here are some tips on capturing the event and still enjoying the holiday with the family.

    1. Get Organized - Know the timing of dinner and all the events. Plan what holiday photography shots are the most important and look for a good place for group shots. Knowing these things in advance will make getting spontaneous shots easier.
    2. Pack Light - Take a flash, a couple of variable zoom lenses, filters and the supporting accessories for these items.
    3. Fresh Batteries - Replace all batteries so this won't have to be done later.
    4. Arrive Early - Arrive to the event early. The family photographer should be prepared as everyone arrives. This will produce great shots of family hugging and greeting. People are more natural and always have smiles when greeting each other.
    5. Kitchen Shots - Everyone gathers in the kitchen at family events. Get shots of twos and threes of people mingling and sampling snacks. These make for casual and relaxed shots.
    6. Be Conservative - Take shots and then stop. Don't keep snapping pictures. After everyone has been photographed snacking or talking, take a break and put the camera down. Grab a couple of snacks and rest.
    7. Photograph Before Dinner - Get most of the shots before dinner. After dinner, people are starting to get sleepy and less photogenic.
    8. Get A Group Shot - It is always great to get a group shot with everyone in the picture. It is a nice family memento that will be looked at over and over again through the years. As people move into the location picked for the group shot, start taking pictures of people in small groups. Get two people, then add another and on up till the whole family is in the picture. This is more fun and keeps people relaxed. Take the big shot, then put the camera on a timer and run and jump into the shot.
    9. Decorations - Walk around and take shots of the decorations. The hostess will appreciate this. Get pictures of the table before dinner and some shots of the meal as it is served.
    10. Put the camera away and go and enjoy dinner.Getting all the pictures early in the evening gives the photographer time to spend with family.

    Holidays are times to enjoy moments with the family. Use these tips to record these special moments. In years to come, these will be the pictures the family looks back on to remember holidays past.

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    Holiday Moments

    DecorationsHanging out in the kitchenCarving the turkeyHome for the holidays
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    The Big Group Shot Set Up

    First shot to set up group shotSecond set up shotMore people to the shotFinal family group shot