It’s That Time of Year! Tips for Great Holiday Photos.

December 21, 2012

It’s That Time of Year!  Tips for Great Holiday Photos.

With just a few days until Christmas, it seems the right time to talk about Christmas and Holiday photography.

Here are a few tips:

Get ready! Be sure to be ready for lots of picture-taking. That means having your camera gear packed up and ready to go, if you will be on the road, or just ready and waiting for you if you’ll be staying home.

So, be sure to fully charge your camera’s battery (and perhaps having a second fully charged one available) and have several empty memory sticks at the ready. If you are shooting with a DSLR, be sure to pack the right lenses for the type of photos you are looking to snap. And, don’t forget the tripod, especially if you are interested in snapping photos of Christmas light.

Use Continuous Shooting Mode To Capture Gift-Giving Moments. For many folks, the most interesting holiday photos are those of people opening their gifts. And it is certainly true that these moments can give you a unique opportunity to catch some wonderful facial expressions.

But the difficulty here is that, especially if there are children involved, the time for gift giving goes by quickly! A great way to capture these special, but fleeting, moments is to shift your camera in burst mode, sometimes called continuous shooting mode. That way, you can shoot a series of images quickly, hopefully capturing those expressions of surprise (and sometimes confusion and maybe even disappointment) that the gift brings to each person. And, don’t forget to capture the reactions of the giver too.

Tips for great holiday photo

Go Beyond the Presents. As much fun as presents are, there’s a lot to photograph besides gift-giving. You can capture a larger sense of the holidays by photographing the before’s and after’s. Try shooting images of food prep, package wrapping, tree trimming and other decorating activities. Close-up images of beautiful and unique ornaments or frosted Christmas cookies can make wonderful holiday photos.

Get Close and Fill Your Frame. Get up close and personal with your subject. Instead of shoot your subject way off in the distance, zoom in or get closer. in such a Filling your frame with your subject helps to create a sense of intimacy and keeps the focus where you want it—on your subject.

But Include Some Of That Background Too. Be sure to include some of the background in your Christmas photos. Beautiful Christmas lights and decorations will only add to the sense of the holidays in your photos.

Be sure, though, to avoid distractions in your backgrounds. Keep an eye out for tree limbs popping out of your subject’s head and clutter, or bright and distracting lights behind your main subject.

Beware Of Red Eye! Be sure to switch on your camera’s red eye feature, if it has one. Otherwise, try to pose your subject so that they are angled slightly or with their head turned so that they are not looking directly at the camera.

Snap Those Holiday Lights. Christmas lights can make for a truly scenic image. Here are some tips.

  • Shoot the lights before it’s totally dark out. Having some light in the sky can give a sense of balance and makes for better exposure on both the light and the surroundings. The perfect combination usually happens sometime after sunset, but before it’s fully dark out.

  • Use a tripod. The low light conditions require longer shutter speeds and that can spell trouble (and lots of camera shake) if you try handholding your camera.

  • Turn off your flash.

  • Shoot in RAW if you have that option. If not, try switching your camera’s white balance to the tungsten (incandescent) setting. Many of the older Christmas lights are tungsten balanced and that setting will add warmth to your photos. If, however, you find that the lighting seems wrong, try instead the daylight setting.

Finally, Put the Camera Away… and enjoy the warmth of the season with the ones you love.

Happy Holidays!

For Further Reading…

16 Digital Photography Tips for Christmas

How to Photograph Christmas Lights

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