All photos © Barbara Burdnick
(Editor’s note: Exploring Light is Shutterbug’s monthly column featuring tips, tricks, and photo tips from professional photographers in Canon light finders and Canon Legends tutorial. This month’s column by Barbara Burdenick with easy tips for taking great photos of friends and family this holiday season.
It’s been nearly two years since many of us with friends and family have come face-to-face to celebrate the holiday season, but (hopefully) 2021 will be the year we can all get together again and there’s no doubt those gatherings will include dozens, if not hundreds. , from pictures. The need to refresh your photos and the desire to refresh them during those holiday gatherings will be at the forefront of your interest this year, and since most of you have been hired as your official family photographer, they will likely be tasked with documenting the moments.
I’d like to share some simple tips that can make this year’s holiday photoshoot fun, engaging and creative.
Give the themes something to do
All of your subject people should have what I call “work…” In other words, give them something to do or have them interact with a prop of some kind while shooting (chair, leaning on a stack of books, leaning against a wall, etc.), adding “Action” to the picture will always make it more interesting to the viewer.
In this picture of actor John Glover, I ask him to relax and maybe use the back of a chair to rest his arm. Placing his right hand under his leg was something he did instinctively and the photo was taken. Even with good friends, like John, a little guidance is needed.
Use the inverter
Use a white reflective card to add more light and provide highlights in shadow areas. Not everyone has a professional reflective card in their home, but a piece of white cardboard or white paper will definitely do the trick. Move the reflector card around or move the subject slightly to take advantage of the extra light that the white reflector will provide. If you look closely, you’ll see the extra light the reflector puts on your target.
In this photo, she used natural light on the subject but the shadows on the left side of her face were too deep. A small white reflective card (or white paper or cardboard) gave off just enough light to lighten the shadows a bit without affecting the overall mood I wanted to create.
When using an inverter, you will likely need an extra set of hands. Use a family member or friend as an assistant to fix someone’s hair, retrieve something for the photographer, or hold the reflective card or white paper. Getting involved in your topics without distractions is important, even with friends and family, and having an assistant helps secure that. Kids and grandkids will be in abundance this holiday season, so don’t be afraid to make a baby your helper. It will keep them occupied and feel like an important part of the process.
Use your intuition
How do you feel about the person you are photographing? Is it a close friend, family member, or someone you met for the first time? Highlights the personality of your person or character Knowledge Of that person. If they are known to be doing something (cooking, drawing, reading, etc.), you may want to place them in an environment conducive to this activity.
This is a picture of my mom and dad, Rose and Maurice. My mother would tell my father something to make him laugh, something she did often. Knowing your subjects, their personalities, and their behaviors can lead to warm and unforgettable photographs. Often the best images are not shown. You just have to be prepared for it when it happens.
Make your themes comfortable
How do you get a theme to relax? Your subject will rest when You are rest. Enjoy what you’re doing, and your subject will relax and have fun too, which will translate into great photos.
Sarah Moon is a legendary photographer and great friend. We always have a good time when we get together. We both like the feeling of movement in photos and we don’t shoot each other in focus. Of course, this was a signature style of Sarah and her work, and I’ve always thought it was the best way to paint her portrait.
Enter in the picture
Use the camera’s self-timer to become a part of the story. We rarely notice as photographers because we usually take pictures. You can buy a small and inexpensive tripod to mount the camera, which allows you to jump into the frame and become part of the story.
Last but not least, when you take a great photo, make a print! I can’t stress enough how rewarding viewing a photo I took was. It makes a great gift!
At the end of the day, the most important tip is to have fun with the people you are with. Don’t be too serious about taking pictures. Keeping it simple and fun will lead to great moments that you can enjoy and share for years to come.
Barbara Bordnik is a world-renowned fashion photographer who started her career in Copenhagen and Paris before returning to her hometown of New York to open a studio and won acclaim for her photographs in NSArber NSroar.
Her work is in the permanent collections of museums around the world, including the International Center for Photography, the Gilman Paper Collection in New York, the Polaroid Collection in Massachusetts and Vienna, Austria, and George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.
her Searches, secret flower landscapes Published in the spring of 2003 for a rave review, SEARCHINGS, Volume Two It was published in May 2004 to greater acclaim and third volume It was published in the fall of 2005. Burdenick was honored with an American postage stamp using her portrait of E.Y. Harburg, the late and great American songwriter—released by the U.S. Postal Service in 2005.
In addition to her photography, Barbara Bordnick is a sought-after lecturer and founding member of the Canon Light Explorer Program and is now a Canon Legend.
You can see more of Bordnick’s great work at the links below: