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Elfies Taking Selfies: Photo Tips from Santa’s Helpers

Deck the halls and dress up for the holidays: It’s the start of the season where most people pull out their cameras to take lots of pictures.

To help capture every merry moment, we asked Santa’s shutterbugs, his elves, for tips on how to make your holiday pics pop. 

Don’t force smiles.

You get more genuine facial expressions when you capture moments — like laughing, skating, jumping, opening presents, whispering secrets — instead of poses.

Try the Rule of Thirds.

If you place your subject in the middle of the frame every time, all of your photos will look the same. Imagine your shot is divided into nine equal rectangles (or use the grid on your iPhone). Place your subject at any of the four points where the rectangles join.

Move in closer to your subject.

Fill the frame with their face and focus on beautiful smiles and delightful dimples.

Back up. 

Including a large object in your picture?Back up, then have family members stand closer to you so you see them clearly with the large object in the background.

Look for alternative lighting.

Try a lamp, window or well-lit tree. Have your child turn toward it to create a nice glow on their face.

Try new angles.

Looking at things from a different angle can give you a new perspective while creating interesting shots. Take photos at eye level, look up at them from a lower angle or down from a much higher level.

Don’t count down.

To best capture personality, hit the capture button at random instead of counting down. iPhones have a feature calledlive — it allows you to shoot a photo, then go back and select the frame with the best expressions.

Use leading lines.

Lines of objects can draw the viewer’s eye toward the main subject. You can find lines along walls, slides, windows, fences, buildings and roads.

Use a tripod if lighting is low.

The best time to capture holiday lights is at dusk, but make sure you have a tripod. If you forget one, look for something steady to lean onlike a wall, bench or pole. Place your phone upon it to avoid shaking.

Consider timing.

Snap photos of kids playing in the snow when it’s overcast or when the sun is low in the sky (sunrise or sunset). Because snow is white, it reflects light to your subject’s eyes, causing them to squint. Look for a shaded spot, and then use a flash so that you can see the detail in their faces. 


Celebrate the Holidays at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis  

  • Jolly Days Winter Wonderland, November 23 January 5, 2020
  • Santa’s Big Arrival, November 28 
  • Visit with Santa, November 28 – December 24 

Brought to you by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.


Related Article: Jolly Days Winter Wonderland at the Children’s Museum is Back

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