Make taking family photos a snap with these simple tips

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Make taking family photos a snap with these simple tips

Holidays mean family getting together to share good times and meals. It also means time to get the camera out to record the memories. Gathering the family together after a big meal can be like herding cats: The kids want to go outside and play, someone is cleaning in the kitchen, the football fans migrate to the television and granddad is sacked out in his chair.

Thanksgiving is over, but there's plenty of family time over the next few weeks and loads of photo opportunities.

This year think about gathering the family for a photo before the meal. Everyone is circling the kitchen anyway waiting for the dinner bell to ring. Ask the chef when lull in meal prep will be and pounce on it. If you have a large family, look for a place that can accommodate everyone where they can be seen like stairs or a hill outside. Tell everyone that if they cannot see you, they will not be visible in the picture. You might have to put shy Cousin Betty in the front because she tends to hide behind her brother.

For outdoor group photos, try not to have everyone staring into the sun if you are outside because of the squinty eye effect. If you have the sun behind the group, make sure you do not have flare in your lens from the sun shining right in your camera, and turn the flash on to take care of any shadows. I prefer this technique because eyes are open wide and there is a nice light on everyone's hair.

You can always have the sun to the side but make sure to use flash. Watch for strange shadows on faces from sun filtering through trees, hidden faces and blinkers. Always take more than one! Count to three so the group is focused on you at the same time.

Enough on the group shots though. The images that most families will treasure are the candid moments. Hang out in the kitchen for shots of meal preparation. Photograph the football fans as they cheer and scream at the television. Wander outside to see what the kids are up to. In my family, the smokers were usually outside, too. Photograph the food on the macro setting of your camera. Record the clean up and the good-byes as family heads back home.

Capturing the candid family moments can be better than the posed group picture. And when put together in a photobook, it can seem just like a big group shot but with more action and emotion.

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