Christmas time is one of the most colorful and joyful times of the year. It is a time for festivities and celebrations. The smell of nutmeg and cinnamon fills the air. It’s also time for bright and colorful decorations. The glowing Christmas trees dazzle with twinkling lights create a warm and cozy atmosphere. This is also a great time for some Christmas photography. DSLR cameras are exceptionally well suited for bright and colorful lights and decor. The larger sensors on these cameras produce rich and vibrant colors. You can also use point and shoot camera if don’t have access to a DSLR. Check your camera settings if it allows you to shoot in manual mode.
Just like any other, Christmas photography requires preparation. You want to be well-prepared for all type of photo shoot conditions that your may encounter. Simple things like making sure your have a full battery charge, extra memory card, and a few lenses, can go a long way. A fast 35mm prime lens will give your stunning detail and clarity. If your’re doing a night shoot indoors, carefully observe the lighting condition. You may need to use a flash if the lighting is poor. If you must use a flash, then either bounce the flash or use a diffuser to eliminate harsh reflection. During an indoor photo shoot, your’ll be using very slow shutter speeds, therefore a good tripod is also recommended.
Here’s the List
Holiday Photo shoot
It can be challenging to get everyone involved in the photo shoot process. Everyone is busy with their conversations and cocktails. It’s ultimately photographer’s job to keep on the lookout for the right moments. Especially when trying to photograph young children and toddlers. Some priceless moments with toddlers are very quick and are gone within a second. Again, here your preparation will pay off and save your the frustrations.
Christmas Photography – Group shots
Photographer is responsible for arranging group photos. Look for well lit spots with colorful backgrounds. Try to avoid excessively brightly lit background. Preparation again is very crucial for a group photograph. People don’t like spending too much time waiting around for the photo shoot. Choose your location and camera setting ahead of time. Also, make a mental note how your will position everyone. Some people are tall, others short. Position them in a way so no one hidden.
It is also a good idea to shoot group photos in continuous mode. Most DSLR cameras allow for 5 pictures per second. You will be able see some adjustments to your photos in continuous mode. People tend to relax after the first photo, and everyone naturally look into the camera while it is firing repeatedly. Take more than one photo. Make sure your fill the entire frame with the group without cutting off sides and keeping your back ground in the shot.
Some common flaws in group photos are:
- People looking in different directions
- Facial expressions are not consistent
- Subjects not properly spaced.
- Distance to the subject – Background may be missing or choppy
Photographing Christmas lights can be tricky for beginners if your’re using an SLR camera. The camera settings can be daunting at first. Mainly it is a combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. I have separate posts describing these three main elements of photography.
To capture a Christmas lit scene, it’s recommended to use low shutter speeds. Also, try to stick with ISO setting of 400 or under. Aperture can be set to around f/2.8. A tripod is needed because your’ll be shooting at low shutter speeds. This will eliminate blurring caused by the camera shake.
If your’re shooting outdoors, the best time is just before it get too dark. It is just after sunset when the sky still have some evening hue to it. You want your scene to include this natural light. You can keep your white balance to auto. But try taking photographs with the white balance set to tungsten. This will bring out the blue in the sky and add gleam to the lights. Take several test shots. You may have to readjust, the shutter speed as it gets darker. Also, plays around with the ISO, but don’t try to go over 800.
Long exposure is a method that can produce spectacular results. But it requires more planning and preparation. A tripod is a must for long exposure photography. This method is not for if your want moving objects to be in focus. This it best suited for still subjects. Although moving lit objects such as vehicles can be included in the photograph, but it will only capture the moving head and tail-lamps. You might have seen some photographs of the streets with red and white streaks that look like trails. Those are the lights of the vehicles creating a sweeping effect on the image sensor. This method can also be used for fireworks or astronomical photography or anywhere there’s a desire to capture the trail of a light or glow. Be sure to read my dedicated post on Long Exposure Photograhy <–Link
I hope this article has given your some startup skills necessary for Christmas photography. Think creatively and enjoy the moments. Christmas is a wonderful and joyous time as festivities and bright lights add another dimension to life.
So get your camera out and start taking photos…. Please leave any questions or comments below.