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'Tis the Season

Paola Ponchielli shares tips for creating fun, fast and easy holiday cards using her SP 70-200mm and SP 24-70mm F/2.8 G2 lenses.

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Article & Images by Paola Ponchielli

Every year the pressure is on to get your holiday cards done. As a mother and a photographer, I’m always thinking of fun and unique ideas for my family’s card. Luckily, I have a four and a half year old who is a total ham. Sometimes it takes some bribing, but hey, we always seem to get it done.

Whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors here are some tips for creating fast, easy and fun cards with your Tamron lenses.

1- First and foremost, have fun. Holiday cards are meant to celebrate all the blessings we have experienced throughout the year.

2- Choose your location. Whether it’s your home or a park, even a well known already decorated location, the most important factor is capturing the best moments and expressions from your children. These photos of my daughter Luna were captured at The Milleridge Inn in Jericho, NY. They always have beautiful decorations every year so I decided to take a trip with my girl and do a little shopping, have some dinner and take advantage of this perfect photo opp.

© Paola Ponchielli
SP 70-200mm F/2.8 ISO 1600, F/2.8, 113mm, 1/100 sec

© Paola Ponchielli
SP 70-200mm , F/2.8 ISO 1600, 109mm, 1/80 sec

3- Make a plan. What do you want your card to say? What feeling do you want to portray? Sometimes it’s good to look at different card formats to get some inspiration and color theme ideas. You can use some festive props to add to the image but keep it simple. You don’t want your photos to look too busy. Keep your child the main focus. For these images, I set up a backdrop in my living room facing the window to get some natural light, added a few props, chose an outfit that color coordinated with my set up and used my trusted SP 24-70mm F/2.8 lens.

© Paola Ponchielli
SP 24-70mm F/2.8 ISO 400, 70mm, F/2.8, 1/60 sec

© Paola Ponchielli
SP 24-70mm F/2.8 ISO 400, 56mm, F/2.8, 1/125 sec

4- Keep it sharp! No one wants a blurry holiday card. Let’s face it. Kids don’t sit still. Well at least mine doesn’t! You want to make sure your shutter speed is fast enough but also that you have enough light so your ISO is in a reasonable setting. This is not a problem for outdoor/daytime but when shooting in low light situations it can be a challenge. For these images, we had just finished decorating our tree and I was inspired by all the sparkles I was seeing in the room. I just love the beautiful bokeh created by the reflection of the lights in my window and in the Christmas tree behind my daughter. These photos were captured with the new SP 24-70mm G2 lens and even with my shutter set as low as 1/15 of a second I was able to capture my daughter without any blur. I credit this to the lens’s amazing vibration compensation (VC) feature.

© Paola Ponchielli
SP 24-70mm F/2.8 G2 ISO 1600, 61mm, F/2.8, 1/15 sec

© Paola Ponchielli
SP 24-70mm F/2.8 G2 ISO 1600, 58mm, F/3.2, 1/50 sec

© Paola Ponchielli
SP 24-70mm F/2.8 G2 ISO 1600, 31mm, F/2.8, 1/30 sec

5- Control your lighting. Flash or no flash? It’s up to you. Holiday lights add real beauty to a photo and using the ambient light can really bring something special to your images. But sometimes a little fill flash can really make your kid stand out while still maintaining the beautiful holiday lights in the background. Finally, I decided to have a little fun with my husband and daughter. My daughter has so much personality and unfortunately for us is very mischievous so why not showcase her fun and silly personality. It’s all in good fun….right daddy? ;)

© Paola Ponchielli
SP 70-200mm F/2.8, ISO 1600, 74mm F/2.8, 1/60 sec

www.paolaphoto.com and Instagram @paolaphoto on Facebook @paolaphotopro

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