Christmas creates magical memories, but those moments are gone in seconds — unless you freeze them with a camera. The holiday season creates many different photo opportunities, but many of the Christmas traditions are tougher to shoot because they are often indoors in limited lighting. But, with a few tricks, you can step up your Christmas photos by navigating some of the challenges that come along with them. Here are five Christmas photography tips to capture holiday memories just as magical as you remember.
Embrace the bokeh.
Christmas lights create that sparkle of magic — and they make excellent backgrounds for holiday photos. When taking photos, look for ways to incorporate lights into the background — they will blur into pleasing circles and make excellent backgrounds. To maximize that bokeh effect, use a wide aperture and if you have one, a camera with a larger sensor like a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Bringing the subject farther from lights, rather than having the subject sit directly in front of the Christmas tree, will also help.
Notice the lights look half off in some of your photos? Christmas lights actually blink at a frequency too fast for the eye to detect, but if you use a fast shutter speed, you may catch one of those blinks. If you see the lights aren’t all there, lower the shutter speed to around 1/60 or lower.
Try a tripod and low light.
Along the same lines, the holidays create a number of different great low light opportunities. When heading out to view Christmas lights or to attend a candle walk event, bring along a tripod and try shooting long exposures. You’ll get sharper shots without ruining the ambience of a scene light just by Christmas lights. The same concept applies to candlelight.
Take the shoot outdoors at a Christmas tree farm.
While tasks like baking Christmas cookies and unwrapping presents are of course best left indoors, if you want to take a family portrait for Christmas, you’ll likely get better results outdoors. Christmas tree farms make great spots for family photos and during the day, outdoor shots are much easier to light than the dimness of the indoors — especially if you head out on a cloudy day. Dress warm and head outside to get some variety to your Christmas photos.
Apply action photo tips for gift unwrapping.
Tearing open the wrapping paper is almost an athletic event — and you need to apply action photography concepts to capture the candid moments in the midst that flurry of paper. Widen your aperture and bump up the ISO so that you can use a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action. Turn on burst mode so you can increase your chances of capturing that perfect moment.
Don’t forget the prep shots.
Much of the joy of tradition isn’t in the actual day, but all the moments leading up to it. Don’t forget to pull the camera out while baking Christmas cookies, wrapping presents or cozying up to a Christmas movies in PJs. Whatever your family’s holiday traditions are, don’t just bring the camera out in the peak moments, but the small moments that contribute to the overall holiday.
Christmas is a magical season — and using Christmas photography tips helps you capture all of that magic to remember years down the road. Merry Christmas!