Photographing Christmas

Christmas tree light

The tree is up, the mince pies are ready and little people are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Father Christmas. It’s a magical time of year, and you’ll want to make sure to capture some of your festive moments. Photographing Christmas can be a little tricky, there’s are a few tips and tricks below to help your photos sparkle.

Pay Attention To The Light

One of the tricky things at about photographing Christmas is the amount of light available at this time of year. Days are short and often dull, and we tend to spend more time indoors. In addition to this challenge, lights on the Christmas tree and other decorations can compete with other light sources in your house making it tricky to get the photos you want.

Theres some tips of taking creative photos of Christmas lights in this blog, but you are also likely to want to take some photos of your children and the other important people in your life. If you’re wanting to take a photo of your kids in front of your Christmas tree, you will want to think about what natural light sources you have in the room. Is there a window that your children can face (during daylight), with the Christmas tree behind them? Can you open a door to let some light in to illuminate their faces?

Another option is to set up an activity so that your subject is facing the lights from your Christmas tree. This could be something as simple as asking your child to point to their favourite tree decoration. Alternatively, a small table next to the tree could be the perfect setting for writing to Santa on a dark winter evening.

Turn Off Your Flash

Anytime you are photographing Christmas lights you’ll want to ensure that your flash does not fire. The flash will overpower the lights, making them appear muted in your photograph. Of course, making sure that your flash is off means you probably won’t be able to photograph un automatic mode. Read on more to find out more about the exposure settings you’ll want.

Setting Your Exposure

Aperture is the setting thats going to have the biggest impact on how your Christmas lights appear in your photograph. A wide ISO will give you beautiful bokeh, a narrow one sparkling starbursts. Ideally, you want to keep your ISO low to avoid noise in your photographs. Some of these settings will means that you do need a longer shutter speed than you can handhold for. This means you will need either a tripod, or to rest your camera on a stable surface. A coffee table, and the 2 second delay on the shutter, can be a useful alternative to a tripod.

There are compromises to be made though. A long exposure and excited children is likely to lead to blurred photographs (although this could also make for a creative shot). In this scenario, increasing your ISO may be the trade off you need to make.

Hopefully these tips help with photographing Christmas, if you put the effort in there are some beautiful photos to be taken at this time of year. 


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