How to take the best Christmas photos
Christmastime is the perfect time to eat, drink and be merry – and to practise Christmas photography!
For shutterbugs, Christmas is the perfect time to whip the camera out and capture all the festive memories. But coming up with good Christmas picture ideas can be enough to make you say bah, humbug!
To save you racking your brain to come up with Christmas shot inspirations, we’ve compiled a list of Christmas photography ideas and tips for taking Christmas photos, to make your festive images as shiny as Rudolph’s nose.
In this blog we will be going over:
- Taking great portraits
- Practising bokeh on your Christmas lights
- Photographing homes in the neighbourhood
- Practising long exposure photography
- Shooting near a window while it’s still light
- Using an external flash
- Bumping up the ISO
Take great portraits
What is Christmas photography? Well, to define this we must first define Christmas. Okay, yes it’s about food and presents, but it’s also about spending time with our loved ones. These are the people who make Christmas what it is – so be sure to get some great portraits amongst your Christmas photos.
Settings for Christmas portrait photography
Here are our recommended settings for indoor portrait photography with a moderate depth of field. These values are just a guideline, so feel free to experiment and adjust. In fact, with Christmas lighting up and around most homes, experimentation will likely be a must. But here is where to start:
- ISO: 100 or 200
- Shutter speed: 1/30 or 1/90
- Aperture: f/2 to f/5.6
Practise bokeh on your Christmas lights
Bokeh is the visual appeal that comes from rendering the blur produced in the parts of the photo that are out of focus. Applying bokeh to the background of your images can make a beautiful photo, especially when you have Christmas lights in the background. Whether you’re shooting outdoors with Christmas lights as a backdrop, or a bauble on your tree as the main subject, bokeh works beautifully.
Remember, the key to creating a bokeh effect is using a lower aperture – f/2.8, if possible. This can be achieved by using a macro lens, a telephoto lens for a longer focal length, or a 50mm lens.
Photograph homes in the neighbourhood
In need of props for your Christmas photography? Look no further than your neighbourhood to get inspired! Just going for a walk in your area will uncover plenty of points of interest for your photography. The neighbouring homes intricately arranged with colourful Christmas lights, wreaths and decorations will make for excellent backdrops for portraits, or even subjects for photos.
- Shooting in the evening will not only allow the lights to shine, but if there is snow, it will act as a reflector, helping to raise the light levels in the dark.
- Use a tripod to help stabilise your image
Practise long exposure photography
If you’re feeling adventurous, you should try long exposure photography. Long exposure photography is a style of photography that uses slower shutter speeds. By doing this, the photographer can capture the motion blur of moving elements in the photo.
And you can use this special technique with your Christmas photography to create ethereal trails of light in your photos. The key to long exposure is using slow shutter speeds, preferably from 5-30 seconds of exposure for a light trail.
Shoot near a window while it’s still light
One of our best practical Christmas photos tips is to shoot by a window. While it’s still light, you should avoid using a flash, as natural lighting makes your photos appear (as the name suggests) more natural. Shooting by a window helps to maximise the daylight, and also acts as a softbox, diffusing the light.
Use an external flash
Once it starts to get dark, natural light won’t be enough to give you a bright image. Using a flash is your best option. Avoid using your camera’s in-built flash because this provides a very flat light.
External flashes are designed to give a burst of bright light and fill in the ambient lighting in your environment, so using one will significantly improve your images. Pro tip: bouncing the light from the flash will help to provide even more depth in your photos.
Bump up the ISO
As the light starts to fall quickly in winter, raising your ISO will help your camera to detect the ambient light more easily. Be sure to set your camera’s ISO to a setting of 800 or 1600, but don’t be afraid to go even higher when using a full-frame camera.
Celebrate your Christmas and capture merry memories with a festive photoshoot. Book a Christmas session with Splento for a magical photo session at an affordable price, when it’s convenient for you.
Contact a member of the team today to find out more.