I hope everyone is set and ready for Christmas between presents and holiday parties. As the holidays approach, I’m often asked how to take better candid photos on Christmas morning and of family gatherings. Many of us have set out with our cameras to capture what we thought would be a memorable experience, only to find our photos are willed with red eyes, washed-out ghost faces and blurry action shots. What I want is for everyone to be ready to create truly memorable Christmas photos! So, I’ve compiled a few tips to not only capture those special morning moments, but to make them look great as well!
Tip 1: Let The Sun Shine In – Shooting photos indoors under artificial lighting can quickly ruin your favorite holiday photos. Pay attention to what type of light you’re shooting in and adjust your White Balance accordingly. Or choose to shoot in RAW and adjust settings later. When in doubt, switch off the harsh overhead lights and open the window shades to let in more flattering natural light.
Tip 2: Twinkle Twinkle – Make sure your camera is set to show those tree lights. You may bring in a little light from the ambient in the room, but it will give you a sparkle in the background of your kids. You can accomplish this by either lowing your shutter speed, but don’t go below 1/100 of a second or you will get motion blur, or by raising your ISO to 400-800.
Tip 2: Bokeh is Best – Keep your aperture as low as possible to give that nice Bokeh effect to the lights in the background. It will almost look like a twinkle effect and give you that extra bit of Christmas POP!
Tip 3: Get Low – Get down on the ground. I’m sure that’s where you’ll be opening gifts anyway. The perspective will show the true joy in your kids faces!
Tip 4: Sneak Attack – Don’t make your kids look at the camera with every gift they receive. Simply let them do their thing and capture the TRUE joy on their faces!
Tip 5: Zoom Zoom –
Don’t be afraid to get close to your subjects. Shots where your subject is off in the distance loose detail and impact. Zoom in, or just get up close yourself, to fully fill the frame of your photo. If you feel like you’re too close, get closer. The result will speak for itself.
Tip 6: Flasher – While it sometimes seems like the ideal tool, the flash can often the biggest culprit of your worst photos. The bright lights can make it difficult for your subject to focus, leaving them looking scared while the lack of directional light leaves them looking washed out. Instead, try use a flash diffuser or if you are using a point and shoot camera, try taping a little piece of white paper under your flash angled up toward the ceiling. If you’re using a camera with an external flash turn it to the side or up behind you, because bouncing the light off the walls or ceiling spreads the light out and creates more directional lighting.
Tip 7: Be A Pro – If you have the ability to take your flashes off your camera and set them off remotely, then do it! Set up your lights after the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve and be ready for them to come running down the stairs first think in the morning. This will also allow you to sleep in until the very last minute and still be able to just turn everything on and catch all the joy of the morning.
I hope these tips help you create special moments that you’ll be able to remember for years to come!