For professional photography sessions please visit www.redtentphotography.com

10 Tips For Photographing Christmas

There’s nothing quite like blurred twinkly Christmas lights to get a heart fluttery. Or candy cane stripes, Nordic patterns, the bold red, white and greens of Christmas that really make a photo pop. Imagery is powerful, able to conjure up memories and feelings, physical proof that beauty surrounds you. Like the grandpa put it in Love The Coopers I convinced my ever-patient husband to sneak away and see with me for date night last night: “Such a fuss, and yet, everything you could ever want is right in front of you the whole time.”

And so, behold!

Here are 10 easy tips for capturing beautiful Christmassy images this holiday season, turning snapshots into better, more interesting photos.

  1. Change angles

IMG_2037

It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to capture the moment that we forget to take a few steps back and look at a moment differently for a more fun, interesting photograph. Shoot from different angles: (overhead, level with subject/you crouching down, shooting upwards, etc.)

IMG_2134

IMG_2106

IMG_2127

And always use natural light where possible. Try to position an activity or a posed photo near a bright window or door.

IMG_2300

IMG_2006

IMG_1814

2. Capture the perfect blurry Christmas lights 

IMG_2340

If you have a DSLR, open up your aperture super wide to give that beautiful blurred bokeh effect. (These were taken at f/1.6)

IMG_2329

Or if you like the starburst effect, which looks great at night when taking a photo of, say, a house lit up in Christmas lights, set your aperture high, around f/16.

IMG_2321

3. Family Photo

advent 6

Photographing Christmas would not be complete with a family photo. Make it an annual tradition and get a family photo with Santa, or have a friend or neighbour take a picture of you all in front of the tree, or even set the self-timer and take one with your iPhone. Even if you don’t get that perfect snap – and 9 times out of 10 you won’t! – it’s still so nice that have that tangible, can-hold-in-your-hand photo that embodies the “us” that hugs a family.

IMG_2161

(Our Christmas card photo this year – our children did not co-operate but hey, what can you do? I actually love it even more.)

4. Front of camera, mamas!

reindeer food

Speaking of family photos, make sure you get in front of the camera too, mums, so you can be part of the memory. When I look at past photos with Ella, she’ll often say, “But where were you, mummy?”. It’s nice for your children to see you right there snuggled into them. It’s nice for you, too. Tell your husband how much it means to you to have photos of you in the moment with your children. Leave your phone somebody nearby. Have your DSLR on the kitchen bench in reaching distance. Hire a professional photographer if you have to! *ahem* However you help it happen, get in front of that camera, mamas!

IMG_2085

IMG_2005

IMG_2164

5. Use mirrors

IMG_0970

Mirrors add a great element to a photo, making them more fun and interesting and visually appealing. Try photographing your Christmas tree reflected in a mirror, or your children, or your decorations, or even some family activity playing out.

lights 2

IMG_1031

6. Use light to illuminate at night

advent 2

Shooting at night is often tricky, having to use high ISO and often getting that grainy effect in photos, or needing a flash which leaves that horrible washed-out look to photos. And if you’re using your iPhone, you can forget about the whole thing altogether. At night, we often put our cameras away, saying “the light’s no good” BUT why not make use of the abundance of Christmassy lights to illuminate your subject and create an interesting photo that pops with the contrast of light and dark? Use a candle when carolling, or your outside lights to light up your child’s face. Sparklers and torches are also great light sources at night that make an interesting photo.

IMG_2066

advent 11

mg_4115

7. Capture the details

IMG_2129

Capture all the details and traditions which make Christmas special to you. Maybe you love baking cookies this time of year? Or having family hot cocoa nights? Maybe you love the matching Christmas jammies you dress your kids in, or visiting your favourite Christmas lights, or maybe it’s even just a favourite Christmas movie you like watch. Photograph these details. Turn them into a Christmas photo book, full of family comforts and rituals you’ll be glad you captured when this season of your life is passed and gone.

IMG_1750

IMG_2317

IMG_1962

reindeer food 2

advent 10

IMG_9566

IMG_0699

advent 9

IMG_9575

8. Invest in a Christmas outfit or two.

IMG_2159

Let’s be honest. It’s hard to make photographs look good when what’s in them….isn’t good. The cuter your subjects, though, the better your photos will be! It’s, like, basic maths here.

Matching Christmas outfits, striking colours, things which scream CHRISTMAS in shouty caps, well they are only going to give your Christmas photos an extra shine. Invest in a Christmas outfit or two, or – you know – ten. We all march to the beat of our own drums, folks.

IMG_1804

IMG_2047

9. Calm before the storm

A lot of us put great effort into making Christmas special for our friends and family. The meal plans, the table decorations, the presents wrapped and twinkly lights on, the traces of Santa and his reindeer and the other million ways we enhance the magic of Christmas for our children.

On Christmas eve, leave a little time to capture everything all laid out – the table, the presents, the anticipation — the calm before the storm. They’re special, those details. And they are worth documenting.

xmas 2

xmas 3

xmas 4

10. Enjoy

Finally, put the camera down and live the moment as well. Not everything can be captured. Not all moments can be remembered. On Christmas morning, spend that initial time taking photos of all the special things – seeking out reindeer evidence, unwrapping special presents, reading out the kids’ special notes from Santa Claus. But then put the camera down and soak in your efforts, your family, too.

xmas 5

xmas 6

xmas 8

 

Happy Tuesday!

IMG_2306

IMG_2295

IMG_2297

IMG_2264

IMG_2310

 

 

4 Responses to “10 Tips For Photographing Christmas”

  1. HappyFamily

    Love these tips. My goal for 2016 is to improve my photography. Just started playing with angles. Love your gingerbread photo. And I am with you about pictures of the calm before the storm and lots and lots of Chris outfits. The more the merrier right?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: