Not Your Everyday Holiday Photos

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The holidays are coming up! We've got some great holiday offers available right now, but you'll need to find a way to make the most of that new purchase. If you'd like to take better holiday photos, then here are some great tips from Olympus Visionary Jay Kinghorn.


1. What are some great trends for holiday cards and photos this year?

From what I gather from the cards I’ve received in recent years, it seems people are steering away from the traditional family photo in holiday sweaters in front of the fireplace, in favor of a card that allows a photographer to showcase his or her creativity. A couple of examples are:

- A great photograph from trips your family has taken in the past year

- A beautiful winter landscape photo 

- Photographing each family member against a white background, removing the background in Photoshop, then arranging these images as a collage or fun composite. 

Many people seem to be shying away from denominational greetings.  Enthusiasm and optimism for the new year is a way of sharing the spirit of the season, without focusing on a specific holiday or religious tradition. 

2. What cameras do you recommend?

I’ve been shooting a lot with the Olympus PEN cameras this past year. I love how easy it is to tuck them into a pocket or a small bag and take them with me wherever I go. And I’ve had a great time switching between shooting stills and HD video. They’re a full DSLR packed into a point-and-shoot-sized body. 

3. How easy is it for someone like Grandma (who is afraid of technology) to shoot these images?

Every generation of cameras is more powerful and easier to use than its predecessor. Technologies like in-body image stabilization, face detection and dust removal improve everyone’s ability to take a sharply-focused, well-exposed photo. 

The art of photography comes in seeing the right moment and composing the photo creatively. This is far more of an artistic challenge than a technical one. 

Today’s cameras allow photographers—some who have a great eye, but may have once been limited by the technology—to go out and shoot great photos in any shooting situation. 

4. How do you make your card or photo stand out from the rest?

My recommendation is to let your holiday card reflect you and your family’s personality. Give yourself some time to experiment. Challenge yourself creatively to come up with something you’ll be proud to share with everyone in your address book.  

5. What would you tell people to look for when shooting photos during the actual holidays?

When you’re with your family for the holidays, keep the camera by your side, and don’t be afraid to grab candid moments as they arise. These are more meaningful and memorable than staged photos of your aunts and uncles lined up in front of the mantle.

Technically, I’d encourage you to turn off your flash and increase the ISO sensitivity of your camera. Today’s cameras are so good, you can feel confident shooting at ISO 800 or 1600 and still capture clean, relatively noise-free images. Also, don’t be afraid to get close and shoot with a wide-angle lens, rather than a long zoom. Your pictures will be more intimate and engaging as a result. 

6. Where can consumers and enthusiasts find creative ideas for these photos?

Creative inspiration is everywhere. Look to television, magazines, photo books, internet photo-sharing sites, billboards... the inspiration is endless! Just keep your eyes and your imagination open. Often, you’ll see an idea that you can adjust or reuse for a different purpose. Who knows? The ideas for your next holiday cards might come from a banner ad you see on a website, or a commercial on television. Throughout the year, keep an eye for inspiration you can use for your next holiday card.

Visit Jay's blog for multimedia photography and workflow tips and his consulting site to learn about his professional services. 

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These photos are awesomely amazing.  I have had my Olympus E-620 since this past summer - switched all my camera equipment from Canon Rebel xTi to the Olympus.  So far, I am totally impressed with the camera, except for lower light photography. Haven't had much luck with it, but need to take a class to learn more about my camera.

We are thinking of going on a trip to Bryce Canyon next fall/late summer as I've seen so many amazing photos taken there.

Your photos are stunningly beautiful and thank you for sharing them.