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Photograph Family and Friends During the Holidays

The holidays are prime picture-taking time. Get some great tips on…

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3.6 Rating
The Versatile Appeal of the D600

See what makes the D600 an appealing camera

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4.3 Rating
Photograph the Classic Holiday Light Bokeh Effect

Tips for shooting lights as soft globes of color

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For Memorable Family Vacation Photos, Focus First on Family

Tamara Lackey on taking great photos during family vacations

Beginner

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4.8 Rating
One Shot: Stamps of Approval

Cindy Dyer's imagery becomes US Postage Stamps

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4.4 Rating
Bokeh for Beginners

Have your subjects stand apart from the background with this easy technique

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3.8 Rating
Cat Photography: Capturing Cats in Pictures

With a little patience you too can make great pictures of your pet cat or…

Beginner

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Jody Dole Photographs Objects that Catch His Eye

See how commercial shooter Jody Dole uses anything and everything to…

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Shooting Abstract Photos that Make the Viewer Guess

Sometimes showing just a hint of your subject can be more compelling…

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Image Overlay: Combining Images Together In-Camera

Image Overlay lets you combine multiple images together in-camera

Advanced

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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power
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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power

Creating a starburst in your photographs

Beginner

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Shooting Long Exposures:

Deborah Sandidge on shooting long exposure landscapes and cityscapes

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Getting Started: How to Hold Your D-SLR Camera

Getting sharper, more in-focus pictures can be as simple as learning how…

Beginner

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Have Fun Shooting Selfies (Self-Portrait) Photos

Tips and tricks for taking great Selfies

Beginner

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Caring for your Nikon 1 AW1 Waterproof Camera

Care and maintence for the Nikon 1 AW1

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The DX and FX Formats

Understand the differences between the formats to determine which is the one for you.

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Understanding Nikon Wireless Connectivity

Learn how to connect your camera and compatible smart device wirelessly

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Motion Detection

Motion Detection helps you take sharper pictures

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HDSLR Video Tutorial: Getting Started with Your D-Movie Camera

Getting started with HDSLR video

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Setting up the D4S/D4 and WT-5 for Networking: HTTP Mode or FTP Server

Video tutorial on setting up the D4S/D4 and WT-5…

Advanced

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Scene Auto Selector

A COOLPIX feature that recognizes the type of scene or setting and automatically selects the…

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Video Tutorial Series: Getting Started with your Nikon D3300 DSLR

Series of six videos to help you set-up and shoot and…

Beginner

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3.1 Rating
Wired and Wireless File Transfer

Wired or wireless options lets you transfer image files from the camera to computer when…

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Using an HDMI Recorder and External Monitor with Your HDSLR

Options for viewing and recording when shooting video

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Which NIKKOR Lens Type is Right for Your DSLR?

Learn what the different types of NIKKOR lenses are and which ones will…

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Getting Started: How to Change a D-SLR Lens

Learn the steps to changing your camera's lens.

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Live View Shooting Modes

Live View Shooting Mode enables you to view and compose the shot without looking through the…

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Exposure Compensation When Using i-TTL Gets Easier with the D4/D4s

Exposure compensation and flash compensation can be…

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Shooting Wirelessly with Nikon’s WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller System

Learn how easy it is to shoot wirelessly with the…

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Marketplace: A #1

Shooting with the COOLPIX A

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Smart Portrait System

Nikon’s Smart Portrait System incorporates into COOLPIX cameras a series of automatic functions,…

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Getting Creative with Photos and Video

Tell better stories using the myriad of fun and artistic features built into Nikon…

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Extend Your Reach with Nikon 1 Cameras and the FT-1 Mount Adapter

Extend your reach with your favorite NIKKOR lenses on a…

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Setting Up Your D4S or D4 DSLR for Networking with the WT-5

Video tutorial on setting up the D4S and WT-5A for wireless…

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Making Great COOLPIX Videos of a Child's Birthday Party

Tips & Tricks from photographer Ann Cutting

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Built-in World Maps

Track where you've been shooting; locate Points of Interest.

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Photograph Family and Friends During the Holidays

Looking to get the best photographs of your family and friends this holiday season? Well, the key to success is simply to relax and let it happen. "Take it easy" doesn't just refer to the automatic operations of your camera; it also has to do with your method of operation.

First, realize you have huge advantages when your family is your subject: you've got access and familiarity. And if your family is used to seeing you prowling around holiday gatherings with your camera, you're way ahead of the game. They're likely to ignore you—and that's exactly what you want in order to capture photos of the folks just being themselves.

You'll get the best pictures when people are doing what they're into doing: dinner preparations, gift wrapping, chatting, table setting. It's not just the Thanksgiving dinner that's photogenic; it's also the team spirit that went into its preparation. During the holidays, it's not just the giving of the gifts, but their wrapping the night before; and, of course the decorating, too.

There are so many wonderful holiday events that your family may be participating in and which make for great pictures. From holiday pageants to caroling in your neighborhood, you’re sure to capture the season in photographic memories.

Two of the most important factors in taking great family photos are timing and location. You know where the family's favorite places are: kitchen, family room, living room, back yard. Be there. And even if you're not planning on a picture, try to keep the camera at hand; you never know when a great moment's going to happen. "Hold it, I'll get the camera" is a sure sign you missed the shot.

While you shouldn't be the director of photographic events, there's nothing wrong with having a subtle plan—like this one, told to us by a writer friend.

"A few blocks away from the house where my family gathers for Thanksgiving there's a beautiful park. So what I did was put my camera and a football I'd brought along on the coffee table in the living room. It took a few minutes for them to be noticed, and then eight or ten of us were out the door and down to the park for about a half hour of no-rules football...and lots of pictures. It worked because I knew them—knew what they'd do when they saw the football. We had a great time playing, and we passed the camera around and got some really nice shots."

So, it's about timing, and location—and it's about the gear. The best news is that cameras today are slick-handling wonders that are made to capture precious moments with precision and automatic ease.

Bring some techniques and ideas, too. For instance, when you're shooting kids, don't just stand there—get down to their level for the best images. And once and a while hand the camera over to them, and let them show you what they see.

So, what's a good camera choice? Well, the first thing to consider is the category: is it going to be a COOLPIX point and shoot compact, a Nikon 1 interchangeable lens camera or a DSLR.

You may find that during the holidays a compact COOLPIX digital camera will be more convenient, and these cameras are packed with features that will make your holiday picture taking a whole lot easier. Scene Modes make it easy to get well-lit, sharp images in a variety of situations. They include Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Night Portrait, Food and Night Landscape—all perfect for holiday photos.

The Nikon 1 advanced cameras with interchangeable lenses are the ideal camera for the picture taker who wants the flexibility of interchangeable lenses and the form factor of a compact camera. New features such as Motion Snapshot make capturing moments fun, and along with still images and Full HD video capture, let you tell the complete story of your celebration. The ultra compact Nikon 1 cameras are small enough to take with you everywhere.

DSLRs are incredibly versatile, offering point-and-shoot ease along with the ability to use interchangeable lenses. In difficult low-light conditions, the high ISO sensitivity of many DSLR models turns those situations into stunning photographs—and when flash is necessary, DSLRs provide powerful, fully automatic performance from either the built-in flash (many models features one) or accessory Speedlights.

Without doubt, a key factor in selecting a DSLR is the incredible range of available lenses, and your choice of lens is going to be the key factor in your holiday photos. If you’re using a NIKKOR VR lens (Vibration Reduction) that's even better, as it means the lens offers image stabilization to banish blur for clearer, sharper pictures.

Happy holidays and happy shooting!