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EXPLORING LIGHT: Simple Tips for Capturing GREAT Holiday Photos

All pictures © Barbara Bordnick

(Editor’s Note: Exploring Light is a per month Shutterbug column that includes guidelines, methods, and picture recommendation from skilled photographers within the Canon Explorers of Light and Canon Legends schooling program. This month’s column is by means of Barbara Bordnick with simple guidelines for shooting nice pictures of family and friends this vacation season.

It has been about two years since many people have amassed with family and friends face-to-face to have fun the vacation season, however 2021 is (confidently) shaping as much as be the 12 months we will accumulate in combination once more and there is not any doubt those gatherings will come with dozens, if no longer masses, of pictures. The want and need to replace pictures all over those vacation gatherings will likely be best of thoughts this 12 months, and because maximum of you’ve gotten been designated because the respectable circle of relatives photographer you’ll most likely be tasked with documenting the moments.

I wish to proportion a couple of easy guidelines that may make this 12 months’s vacation picture-taking procedure a laugh, enticing, and artistic.

Give Subjects Something to Do
Your topics must all have what I name “industry…” In different phrases, give them one thing to do or have them have interaction with a prop of a few type whilst being photographed (a chair, leaning on a stack of books, leaning on a wall, and so forth. Adding “industry” to {a photograph} will all the time make it extra fascinating to the viewer.

In this picture of actor John Glover, I requested him to chill out and possibly use the again of a chair to leisure his arm. Tucking his proper hand beneath his leg was once one thing he instinctively did and I took the picture. Even with just right buddies, as John is, somewhat little bit of course is wanted.

Use a Reflector
Use a white reflector card so as to add extra gentle and supply gentle in shadow spaces. Not everybody has a qualified reflector card in his or her house, however a white piece of cardboard or white sheet will definitely do the trick. Move the reflector card round or transfer the topic moderately to profit from the added gentle the white reflector will supply. If you glance intently, you’ll see the additional gentle the reflector is putting to your topic.

In this symbol I used herbal gentle at the topic however the shadows at the left facet of her face have been too deep. A small white reflector card (or white sheet or cardboard) kicked sufficient gentle to lighten the shadows a bit of with out impacting the entire temper I sought after to create.

When the use of a reflector you’ll most likely want an additional set of fingers. Use a circle of relatives member or good friend as an assistant to mend somebody’s hair, retrieve one thing for the photographer, or cling the reflector card or white sheet. Engaging along with your topics with out distractions is necessary, even with family and friends, and having an assistant is helping safe that. Kids and grandkids will likely be abundant this vacation season so don’t be afraid to make a kid your assistant. It will stay them occupied and really feel like the most important a part of the method.

Use your Intuition
How do you’re feeling in regards to the particular person you might be photographing? Is it an in depth good friend or circle of relatives member, or an individual you’ve met for the primary time? Bring out the character of the individual or your belief of that particular person. If they’re recognized for doing one thing (cooking, portray, studying, and so forth.) you could wish to position them in an atmosphere conducive to that task.

This is a portrait of my dad and mom, Rose and Morris. My mom was once telling my father one thing to make him snicker, which is one thing she did continuously. Knowing your topics and their character and mannerisms may end up in heat and remarkable pictures. Many instances the most productive portraits aren’t posed. You simply want to be in a position for them after they happen.

Make Your Subjects Comfortable
How do you get an issue to chill out? Your topic will chill out when you chill out. Have a laugh with what you’re doing, and your topic will chill out and feature a laugh too, which is able to translate into nice pictures.

Sarah Moon is a mythical photographer and an ideal good friend. We all the time have a great time once we get in combination. We each love the sense of movement in portraits and we by no means {photograph} each and every different in center of attention. Of route, this was once a signature taste for Sarah and her paintings, and I all the time concept it was once one of the simplest ways to make her portrait.

Get within the Picture
Use the camera’s self-timer to grow to be part of the tale. As photographers we’re hardly noticed as a result of we’re most often the only taking the pictures. You should purchase a small, affordable tabletop tripod to stabilize the camera, which is able to let you bounce into the body and grow to be part of the tale.

Last and in no way least, when you are taking an ideal picture, make a print! I can’t tension sufficient how rewarding it’s to show {a photograph} that you simply took. And it makes a superb present!

At the tip of the day an important tip is to have a laugh with the folk you might be with. Don’t be overly fascinated about shooting pictures. Keeping it easy and a laugh will lead to nice moments you’ll revel in and proportion for years yet to come.

Happy Holidays!


Barbara Bordnick is an across the world famend portrait and style photographer who started her profession in Copenhagen and Paris sooner than returning to her local New York to open a studio and drew acclaim for her photographs in Harper’s Bazaar.

Her works are within the everlasting collections of museums world wide, together with the International Center of Photography, the Gilman Paper Collection in New York, the Polaroid Collection in Massachusetts & Vienna Austria, and George Eastman House in Rochester, NY.

Her e-book SEARCHINGS, Secret Landscapes of Flowers was once printed within the spring of 2003 to rave opinions, SEARCHINGS, Volume II was once printed May 2004 to even better acclaim and Volume III was once printed within the fall of 2005. Bordnick has been commemorated with a United States postage stamp the use of her portrait of E.Y. Harburg, the overdue, nice, American lyricist—issued by means of the United States Postal Service in 2005.

In addition to her images, Barbara Bordnick is a sought-after lecturer and is a founding member of Canon’s Explorers of Light program and now a Canon Legend. 

You can see extra nice paintings from Bordnick on the hyperlinks underneath:




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