Picture Perfect Holiday Photos: Second Installment

by Carly

I've always enjoyed being behind the camera much more than being in front of it.  Which is why I happily oo'ed and ah'ed over the family photos tucked into the beautiful Christmas cards we received over the years, but never reciprocated with one of our own.  Then the Little Man was born and my obsession with photography morphed into high gear.

The thought of having to book an appointment for a formal portrait, even if it was only at the local grocery store didn't sit well with me.  Likely because Jake had horrible reflux until he was over a year old and the odds that he wouldn't spit up projectile vomit on the chosen outfit before we even left the house were about as good as our chances of winning the lottery.

So while Jake took an unexpected nap one bright and sunny November day, I set the scene in our south-facing kitchen.  I hung a soft white blanket from the pantry cupboards, draping it over the kitchen table I had moved directly in front of the patio doors.  With the curtains wide open, letting in that gorgeous natural light, I carefully propped Jake up on some pillows tucked under the blanket and snapped away.

Back then I had only a film camera to work with and I shot about three rolls of film to ensure I got at least one good photo.  Not long after that we splurged on a good digital SLR and the Little Man learned to recognize Mommy by the black thing in front of her face.

Over the years I've repeated the process in various bedrooms - going wherever the natural light was best, hanging backdrops from headboards and even taping blankets or sheets to the walls with painters tape.  I've gotten great results using both the fancy-schmancy camera and the regular point and shoot types.

So, if you would like to take your own photos for your holiday cards, I humbly offer the following very amateur-ish advice:

  1. Take photos in natural light without using the flash.
  2. Take a lot of photos.
  3. For at least some of your shots, get in closer to your subject, letting them fill the frame, rather than the background.

As far as locations go, some of my favourites include:

  1. South-facing kitchens and bedrooms.
  2. Rockcliffe Park.
  3. Anywhere in the country.
  4. The backyard.
  5. Gatineau Park, Mud Lake and the Byward Market.
  6. Staircases.

Happy snapping!

Carly has red hair and occasionally the temper to match.  She loves potatoes, rainy nights, photography, her husband and her 4 year old son, Jacob.  Probably in reverse order.   She also blogs.