If there’s an event to be remembered, you can bet someone will be there, snapping pictures. If you’re the picture-snapper this season, you’ll want to be sure you don’t get to the end of it and realize you didn’t get the shots you wanted. Here are a few tips for taking some great holiday photos.

Plan Your Pictures

You probably already have some shots in mind that you’d like to get: kids lighting the tree, families caroling, that one special gift being opened, some Christmas morning bed-head. Jot down on a sticky note what you want, then you won’t end up snapping quick ones at the end that simply prove it was, indeed, Christmas, but that didn’t capture the day.

Clear the Background

This can be tough at holiday time with all the decor and people everywhere. But it’s kind of vital to try for a plain background. You wouldn’t want your gorgeous tree to look like it’s growing out of Grandpa’s head.

Light It Right

Lighting can make a good pic better or a bad pic worse. Use natural light when you can; the magic hours for the most realistic light happen around dawn and dusk. And when it comes to using your camera’s flash, it’s not always indoors = on / outdoors = off. Lots of times when you’re indoors, you’ve got plenty of light. And when you’re outdoors and you’re dealing with harsh shadows, or if your subject has bright sunlight in the background, your flash can fill some of that darkness.

Come a Little Closer

Take a step forward and zoom in a bit. Particularly if you’re photographing a person, try filling your entire frame with your subject. You might end up with a more engaging shot that reveals more detail.

Off Center Can Be Right On

Your subject doesn’t always have to be center stage. In fact, bumping it over to the left or right can make a boring picture captivating. Imagine your photo area as a tic-tac-toe grid. Move your subject around, and snap it in the most interesting spot. Hint: you might want to lock your focus to keep your camera from focusing on whatever is in the middle.

Have a great holiday, snap lots of memorable pictures, and rest easy. If any of those great shots get lost or damaged, you can recover them. Click here to find out how.