Christmas Photos That Make a Powerful Impact
December 13, 2013
•IADT General, Photography
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Christmas photos capture memories that can be treasured for a lifetime. With some planning and forethought, your images can make a powerful impact, preserving cherished moments for years to come. Whether you are a professional photographer or just learning the ropes, when you are taking pictures for a holiday event, the following suggestions and tips can make your photographs more focused and distinctive.
Pack Your Camera
The most important tip of all is to remember to pack your camera. It may seem obvious, but many holiday photo opportunities have been missed when someone forgot to bring along a camera. As well, be sure to pack extra batteries, the camera charger (if digital), memory cards and a flash (if using an external one).
Pick Your Moments
There are many opportunities to take great Christmas photos, and planning is key to make the most of ambient lighting and capture heartfelt emotion in the moment. Memorable shots can be taking during the stages of preparation, including wrapping of presents, putting up decorations and ornaments, preparing food and setting the table. To avoid photos looking too busy, choose one focal point per photo and fill your frame with your subject by either zooming in or physically moving closer for the most powerful shots. Macro mode works well with the lens attached to take close-up shots of smaller details. You can also zoom in using aperture priority mode to throw the background details out of focus.
Capture the Ambiance
For photos shot indoors, the white balance settings will need to be properly adjusted. The other option is to shoot in RAW format and set the white balance later. A flash diffuser or external flash can also be adjusted so that it bounces off the wall or the ceiling. Or, the shutter speed can be used in slow sync mode to slow down the shutter speed, allowing you to freeze the photo subject while capturing the best photo ambiance.
Snap Great Guest Photos
Group photos are best taken early on—once all guests have arrived—to get photos when everyone is looking their best. You can also set up a photo corner for guests to take photos over the course of the evening. This can be done by setting up a point-and-shoot camera on a tripod with a timer so that guests can take random shots at their leisure. You can add holiday flair with a Christmas backdrop, such as a curtain, decorations, tinsel and Santa hats. As well, you can set up a web cam and set the camera to go off every few minutes for a time-lapse holiday series to be enjoyed after the holiday gathering.
There are lots of opportunities to take great holiday photos outdoors. Strolling through the neighborhood will reveal a festive winter wonderland, from shopping malls filled with holiday shoppers to homes decked out in festive spirit as well as outdoor Christmas trees and lots of lights.
Find the Proper Balance
The trick to taking great photos of holiday lights is a matter of balancing the continuous ambient light with the fading ambient. The best time is usually at sunset before it gets totally dark. Set your white balance to an indoor setting without the flash. Shoot from a low position, with a light foreground and aim into the afterglow of the evening sky. Using a tripod can be helpful to keep your hands steady as you take a series of successive shots to capture the fleeting moments when the intensity balance between natural and artificial lights cross. As darkness approaches, the perfect lighting variations will give you a subtle series of shots in the best possible lighting for the most dynamic holiday photos.
With proper planning and preparation, you can be sure to take great Christmas photos, capturing memories that will be treasured for years to come.
Photo credit: Stock.Xchng