Photographing Holiday Lights: The Basics

Some people think that you need an expensive camera or an elaborate setup to photograph holiday lights, but in truth, you can work wonders with a standard point-and-shoot and a little knowledge of how to balance light.

Flash Not Necessary: When it comes to photographing the season’s lights, the decorative version may be all you need for proper illumination. In fact, when it comes to Christmas trees and other indoor decorations, a closely positioned flash can overpower the scene and create a washed-out effect. It’s often better to try photographing the lights first and examine the results. Oftentimes, the holiday lighting is more than capable of standing on its own and actually shines better when left alone.

Incorporating Ambient Light: Photographing holiday lights means keeping track of the diminishing ambient light—most notably, the sun as it sets. You’ll get the best results photographing lights BEFORE it gets dark. During the dusk period, you’ll find a nice balance of diminishing ambient light contrasting with the holiday lights, which means you’ll be able to see more objects in the background.

Try Tungsten: Set your custom white balance to tungsten, just as you would if you were photographing something indoors without using a flash. Holiday lights are balanced for tungsten lighting and this will give your images a warm contrast between the sky/background and the lights.

Bring Your Tripod: Using a tripod is especially important in shooting holiday lights. It will provide stability, which is particularly critical with low-light photography, and will keep your shot properly framed as you continue shooting as the evening light transitions to black.

Take Ten Shots (Over Ten Minutes): Once you have everything set, begin taking a photograph every minute or so. Your eyes may not register the gradual changes so track the time with your watch or cell phone. Then, shoot every minute or so over a 10-15 minute period. You’ll see the changes in evening lighting as you scroll though your shots.

There’s no one right answer when it comes to photographing holiday lights, and this is actually a good thing. Each situation is different, so feel free to apply these tips and then experiment based upon the results. There are few things more fun than an impromptu holiday photo safari, so grab your gear a bit before twilight and enjoy the experience!

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Foodie Photography

Nothing showcases the holiday festivities like food photography, and for foodies across the country, December offers nonstop picture-taking opportunities. For those who want to highlight the festivities and feasts, here are a few tips to feature your favorite dishes:

Check Details in Advance: The focus should be on the food. Don’t let stray details like items of clutter or a mismatched plate compete with your mouthwatering subject. Keep serving dishes simple and elegant and check for items that you don’t want to include in your shot.

Try a Tripod: Avoid introducing camera shake into your images. A tripod will provide stability and allow you to experiment with your settings based on your lighting conditions and other factors. Your shutter speed may very well be slower for these shots so the stability a tripod provides will be important in retaining sharpness.

Frame Tight & Try Angles: Shoot closer than you normally would and experiment with angles. Some of the most successful food bloggers create their fabulous foodie photos by photographing from various angles. Experimentation is a fun part of this experience and you may discover a new trick or two!

Incorporate Holiday Lighting: How you choose to use lighting can impact your images in dramatic ways. A willingness to experiment with position, available light and aperture will all culminate into a successful photo session. You can use small, ‘twinkle’ lights or tea lights to add an element of festivity to your images. You may want to ‘burn in’ your lighting, which simply means using a slower shutter speed for your lens to capture the proper lighting effect. Small shifts in shutter speed and lighting can create big changes, take the time to play and decide which combination works best for you. Happy Holidays!

Level Up Your Lighting

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Lighting matters. In fact, it is one of the most critical components of composition, whether you shoot still images or video. When it comes to effective lighting, our ProMaster LED 120 Camera/Camcorder light is the ideal accessory to achieve natural lighting situations in less than ideal conditions. This continuous light source is designed to help combat red-eye issues and also works well with your camera’s autofocus system, thereby helping you shoot sharper images. You can pick up yours at any 4 of our locations.

You Want This Fabulous Filter for Holiday Photography

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One of the most important ways to protect your DSLR lens is by using a high quality protection filter. Our ProMaster digital HGX filter is the perfect partner to keep your lens shielded from dust, dirt, grime and fingerprints. Its colorless design won’t impact your images in any way other than to protect it from the elements. The REPELLAMAX™ element resistant coating is exclusive to ProMaster and protects your lens while making sure your images remain tack sharp. Pick up a couple – one for yourself and one for gift-giving this holiday season!

Tips for Terrific Thanksgiving Photos

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Here are some of our favorite tips for making sure the snaps you shoot are cause for celebration:

Take Ten (Minutes): Before family arrives and things get hectic, spend a few minutes getting your gear in order. If you have images on your memory card, transfer them to your primary computer and reformat the camera card. Charge your camera’s battery and, if you have an external flash, make sure it is also charged with new batteries. Finally, double-check that your lens cleaning cloth is in your bag. One rogue fingerprint can kill an entire series of shots.

Timing Matters: Revisit how to use the timer function on your camera. After all, you don’t want to just take the photos – you’ll want to be in them as well! You can do a quick online search for your camera’s model if you’ve forgotten how to use this setting.

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Picture Perfect Posing: Getting everyone to cooperate is particularly important when large groups and small children are involved. For posed group portraits, you’re more likely to get cooperation from family earlier in the day. For grandparents and elderly family members, make sure posing includes a comfortable chair for sitting and place others around them according to height. Younger kids can sit cross-legged on the floor in front. Getting engaged smiles is an easier task if you stay connected to them. One accessory that can help is a remote shutter release. It’s one of the most helpful accessories you can keep in your camera bag for shooting family portraits. A wireless shutter release will help you keep your eyes on capturing the perfect family photo.

Share the Love: With so many choices online, sharing your family photos has never been easier. Take a quick tally to ask how family would like to receive their copies. For example, some grandparents have a Facebook account while others prefer to have hard copies, so consider sending a set of printed photos. Another bonus? You can turn your favorite family photograph into a personalized holiday gift perfect for Christmas or Hanukkah. Come by the store or visit us online to choose the perfect present – and you’ll be far ahead in your holiday shopping!

Ordering Prints from your Phone: A Step by Step Tutorial

Our phones are full of photos we’ve taken. By having your phone with you at all times makes it too convenient to use as your go-to camera. Sometimes you might even get the “cannot take photo” message on your phone because you’re out of storage. Well we have a fix for that problem that is so easy, we recommend doing it once a week (or month, depending on how many photos you take). Printing your photos is not as common as you used to be in the film era, back to your grandparents and even farther back.

Here’s why you should print your photos:

  1. Technology isn’t always reliable. Almost everyone has experienced a computer crash, an external hard drive failing, losing their phone or worse. Those photos you had saved are more than likely gone for good.
  2. Things change so fast. Do you remember floppy discs? How many computers have a floppy drive anymore? NONE! A lot of computers aren’t even made with a CD drive anymore. Luckily for you, Harold’s Photo Experts keeps some of that history so we can usually retrieve files from old forms of storage. We’ve all seen the “digital dark age” articles that were floating around earlier this year.
  3. Isn’t it fun when your whole family is together and you go through albums of photos. When would you say the last photo was taken that is in those albums. For my family, it’s been about 15 years. Print your photos!

With Harold’s Photo Experts’ new mobile friendly website, ordering prints is so easy!

Follow this step-by-step tutorial about how to order prints from your phone:

Click on Prints on the home page.

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Click on Simply Prints if you just want a simple photo paper print.

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Select PRINTS TODAY or 3 DAY PRINTS. There is a price difference so check the pricing below so you can pick how fast of a service time you would like.

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Click on Start Photo Print.

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Click Upload Photo.

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By clicking on “Upload Photo” it takes you to your Photos on your phone. Select the folder (if applicable) and then select the photos you want to make prints of.

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Once your photos are loaded, you’ll see the following screen. You can scroll through the photos you choose at the top and edit them, rotate them, pick the size of print and quantities of each.

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If you click on Prints on the right side of the screen, it will bring up print sizes and quantities. If you want multiple 4×6 prints, hit the + button until you reach the amount of prints you would like. You can do different sizes of the same photo on this screen.

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If you want 2 4×6 prints of every photo you originally selected, you can click on Batch at the bottom of your screen and easily, and quickly, hit the + button twice next to 4×6 and you’re done!

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Once you’ve selected the sizes and quantities, click ok and next, then you’ll be directed to select your paper finish, border, optional DVD of your photos and add a comment.

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This screen will allow you to review your order before it’s placed.

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If all looks good, the next screen will let you pick how you want to receive your order. We can either ship them directly to you or pick up at any of our 4 locations.

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Then all you need to do is enter your contact info and you’re done!

This is a super easy way to order prints on the go. With this busy world, ordering your prints online from your phone is the perfect option for busy moms, while you’re waiting to pick up your kids or during your kid’s soccer practices. The best part is you can do this from home at any time!

If you still need a little help, stop in to any of our 4 locations and we can help you get started.

Now go print your photos!