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by Phil Ball

Q. Any tips for better holiday photos?

A. The best part of the holidays is getting together with family and friends, especially those we only see on special occasions. There will probably be many photo opportunities. Take several group shots just to be sure nobody moved or frowned during the exposure, of course. But some of the most fun photos can be candid shots of interactions between people such as Grandma making funny faces at the baby. This is where pocket cameras really shine because they can always be with you and ready to go.

The best way to be prepared for these photos is to make sure your camera is always within reach. Plan ahead and make sure that your camera’s battery and spares are freshly charged. Try turning off the flash and increasing your ISO, instead. Natural lighting is usually much nicer than flash and also you won’t disturb your guests or your subjects with disturbing flashing lights. The idea is to record those moments, not to disturb them. To make up for not using flash, you will want to bump up the ISO rating of your camera which will give you a better chance of stopping the action nearly unnoticed. The downside of this is that as the ISO speed goes up, the quality drops but this should be no problem if you are making regular-sized prints like 4x6’s or if you wish to email them or share them on a photo website. Enjoy the holidays.

Published: Courier 12/20/09 - Page 5C