How to take beautiful pictures any time of year

The change of seasons might act as a reminder that you’ll need to get those family photographs done soon in time for the holidays.

You could always hire a professional photographer, but how about snapping the photos yourself?

Consumer Reports explains that with just a little practice and the right gear, you can capture beautiful portraits just about any time of year.

Let’s start with lighting. If you’re photographing someone with a deeper skin tone, you want to think about the ways in which the light is reflecting on their skin.

Also pay attention to someone who has dark hair. You want to think about where the light is hitting their hair and what you want to capture in your frame.

You’ll also need proper camera gear. If you’re looking for portability and swift photo-sharing options, smartphone cameras are the way to go.

The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G and Apple iPhone 12 Pro are at the top of CR’s smartphone camera ratings.

Look to see if your smartphone has a “Portrait” mode.

It will digitally create a shallower depth of field by blurring the background of your image, helping your subject pop more.

If you want to take your photography to the next level, Consumer Reports says digital SLR cameras that take interchangeable lenses have the most features.

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II and the Nikon D 750 are two of Consumer Reports' top-rated SLRs.

Consumer Reports says that while photographing someone, you should practice social distancing for safety.

Also try to avoid photographing outside in extreme sunlight, which is typically is in the middle of the day, because it causes deep, unflattering shadows.

Aim for either overcast days or what photographers call the “golden hour” when the sunlight is most flattering, shortly after sunrise or before sunset.

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