image by monkeybusinessimages

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States.  A day that many come together with friends and family.  Around the world, we are entering into times of holiday, reflection, and get togethers.

This is a great time to bring your camera to functions.  Shooting candid portraits helps preserve memories for all who come.  You might not thinking of yourself as a portrait photographer, but you’re likely the most qualified in the room.

Here are a few tips.

  • Pick up a Prime Lens.  Opening up the aperture will give you a pleasant shallow depth of field and let you shoot in lower light.
  •  Leave the Flash at Home. While I use my flash plenty, its time to blend in and not stand out.
  •  Bump up the ISO.  Chances are you’ll be shooting in lower light… cameras have gotten much better at using higher ISOs.  Take a few test shoots and be sure to zoom into 100% to check the noise.  You might be able to use a higher ISO than you’re used to.
  •  Pack Light. Do you really need five lenses?  I typically pack two lenses.  One prime at portrait length (either a 50mm or 85mm).  I also pack a zoom for flexibility.  Toss in an extra battery or two and a large memory card and you should be good to go.
  •  Give Your Brain a Rest.  Try using a mode on your camera that’s at least partially automatic.  Perhaps its Aperture Priority to control depth of field or one of the Intelligent or Creative Automatic modes.
  •  Occasionally Hand Your Camera Over. While you’re spending time with friends and family, don’t forget to actually get in front of a lens.  You’ll want some memories preserved too.

Do you have any other practical tips for shooting holiday candids?


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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Yup, Here’s my tip. Use AutoISO and aperture priority. On my Olympus I can also set minimum shutter speed at 1/125. This takes care of things better than Manual, because if you outside and take a few pics you won’t have to change anything… you’ll like get base ISO and the camera will up the shutter speed.

  2. I brought mine, I’m glad that I did!


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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.


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