I’ve been taking tons of family portraits these days as ’tis the season for holiday cards. It’s had me thinking that there are a few tips for these that I could pass on in case you decide to make your own. (I am smitten with this card here fom Minted, but probably because outtake-type shots tend to be my favorite portraits and I like a funny card.) I am a big fan of Minted’s cards – their card stock is nice and thick, and they have a lot of modern cards. I also like that they have a “don’t retouch this” box to select as I spend a lot of time making the images I give my clients perfect and “auto retouch” just kills that effort. Anyway, if you’re taking your own photos, here’s a few tips to getting some better ones:
– Go outside to take your shots. Morning and late afternoon is the most flattering time to shoot, so if you can get people coordinated during these times, you’ll have the most flexibility. If you can’t, shoot in the shade, but still go outside.
– Tell the person taking pics for you to keep clicking and to not stop after a few clicks — you often catch a more natural expression after people relax a little from hearing the click, and it’s nice to have a few more options to choose from.
– Edit your pics. I’m not saying you need to buy photoshop, but there are a ton of inexpensive programs out there that will help. I recommend increasing the exposure a bit – typically photos shots in the “auto” mode are underexposed, which can emphasize wrinkles and aren’t typically very flattering. If you do nothing else to your photo, this will help. I’d also suggest warming up the tone for color photos and brightening black and whites.
– Coordinate what you wear – if you’ve got a group of people, the photos come out better when there’s coordination. If someone doesn’t want to play along, have them wear black or grey (or some other neutral) – that’s a lot less distracting than a clashing color.