Tutorial Tuesdays

HOW TO: Take Holiday Portraits of Loved Ones

With the holidays coming up, you finally have a chance to update your collection of family photos. However, the responsibility of capturing those festive moments in a mantel-worthy way comes with a good bit of pressure. Thankfully, you have two important factors on your side: technology and Crowdtap.

Thanks to technology’s great advances, the cameras on our phones and tablets make taking photos easier than ever. Combine that with our foolproof tips, and your photo frames are as good as filled. Ready for us to drop some knowledge? Read on!



One of the most popular recent trends, of course, is the selfie phenomenon. A large percentage of social networking now involves sharing self-portraits with one arm extending just out of frame. While most phones have a built-in timer settings, there is an element of fun that selfies (solo or group) have that posed portraits seems to lack. Don’t be ashamed to give this format a try. If you’re expecting a lot of guests, a selfie stick can come in handy. It can even be slightly angled out of sight, if you’re a self-conscious selfie-snapper.


The difference between a pro photo and an amateur one comes down to the lighting, even when you’re using a cell phone.


Good lighting practices are key to taking an attractive portrait. Think back to the last time you tried to take a photo with your phone (or even camera) and were unhappy with the result. Even if you didn’t like your outfit, or your smile was a little off, your lighting was mostly likely the main culprit that drove you to pressing the delete button as fast as possible.

Even if you’re not trying to be the next big photographer here’s what you need to know:

Make sure you have enough light. That essentially means that you need to have some contrast between your subject and your background.

You need that light in the right areas.This is essential because if your lighting is directed from the wrong spot, your risk the photo looking washed out. That being said, anyone who tells you to take your photo out in the middle of a sunny day is doing you a disservice:

Never shoot at high noon, when the sun is at its highest peak. This will cast harsh shadows upon your subject. Not to mention there will be a lot of squinting. If you’re taking photos outside, overcast is ideal, or either before or after high noon.

Use natural light when you can — it’s *naturally* more flattering. Try shooting next to a window with the lights off, or step outside. Look for shade, like under a porch or next to that tall tree you love.


Pose naturally, but definitely pose. If your subject feels weird about posing for photos, it will translate on camera. Luckily, you’ll probably have wine and turkey on hand to help. Crossed arms may seem like a good go-to pose but unless your subject is a ham with personality to match, try to avoid this. Have them put one or both hands in their pockets and lean against a wall — it’ll make your subject look carefree and comfortable.


Try switching up your angles. Instead of shooting head-on, try angling your phone or even changing your own height to get a dynamic portrait. You might think shooting from the ground up will cause a double chin, but if shot from far enough away, your subject will look taller and more confident.

Consider your background. Good backgrounds are hard to find. You might be perfectly satisfied with using the nearest white wall that doesn’t have a stain on it, but it’s not very interesting. Find a nice wallpaper or plant, or even your Thanksgiving table. Don’t worry about kicking people out of the background if they’re far enough away and are engaging with each other.

Apart from these pro tips, do your best to capture the fun of family time. Snap a good mix of candids and posed shots, and don’t spend all of your time behind the camera.

We’ll have more tips on capturing candids before the holidays are over. For now, stuff yourself with good food and even better memories.?

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Thank you!

taunia rients


Linda Kowaleski

Great tips on lighting and composition in this article. I liked the suggestion that one should change their own position with the camera, whether it’s on your phone or a regular camera.


Good tips to try!!!

Rebecca Camacho

Good lighting is one of my favorites I find the right room in my house and preferably natural lighting then I touch up with my collage making I really enjoy that

Debbie Segrest

Thanks for the helpful tips!


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