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Taking Great Holiday Photos
Sample Holiday Greeting Card

These tips are designed to help you in taking a GREAT and MEMORABLE photo for your holiday cards. These may also be applied to taking any portrait or family photo. And remember, have fun and be creative!

Afternoon Lighting

1. Light.
As we mentioned in the last installment of DigiPhoto101 (Tip Number 72), lighting plays an important role in getting a great photo. Try taking your photos in the afternoon, when the sun is not directly overhead. This will produce a warm, natural glow. You can also try this in the morning, but your subjects may suffer from morning eyes or bed head!

porch family photo setting

2. Location.
Try choosing an interesting location or one that directly relates to your subject. For instance, the family porch or home hearth adds an intimate feel. A nice landscape in the background (as long as it doesn't distract too much) can really set your photo apart.

close up family photo

3. Get close to your subject/s.
Getting close makes for a more intimate portrait - if you are too far away facial expressions will be lost. Being closer also avoids background distractions. Try to avoid zooming (as this will lessen the quality of your result) by actually moving physically closer to your subjects.

light colors and casual warddrobe for photos

4. Wardrobe.
Think about what 'look' you are trying to achieve. Whether you are going for formal or casual, make sure everyone dresses consistently to reflect this 'look.' Simple hairstyles and natural makeup work best. Try a color theme but keep in mind, lighter colors generally make your subject look larger! Try adding pets or special props (such as musical instruments) that help to tell the story of your subjects.

natural smiles example

5. Avoid "cheese"!
Saying "cheese" often produces an unnatural look to the mouth that barely resembles a smile. For a more natural look try telling a joke or getting your subject to laugh.

take lots of photos

6. Take plenty of photos.
A common mistake when taking portrait or family photos is taking too few shots. Even though you can preview your photos on most modern digital cameras, the screen is small and the result cannot be properly judged until viewed on your PC. Take plenty of photos and try some different poses, then compare them when you get home. This method is used by almost all professional photographers.

let your subjects pose themselves

7. Posing.
For a more natural look, try to avoid telling your subjects where to sit or how to pose. Let your subjects get comfortable themselves. Alternatively, if you are taking many shots (which you should), try natural and set-up poses. This will give you the best variety of shots from which to choose.


And remember, we have one of the largest selections of holiday cards on the web. Try our easy-to-use interface to experiment with different photos and different card backgrounds. It's easy to mix and match! Start your holiday card.

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