With Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to improve your photography skills. From photographing the twinkling Christmas tree lights to catching the kid’s faces when they open presents, there are plenty of magical moments to capture during the festive season.
Family, friends, presents and good food – Christmas time is packed full of wonderful photo opportunities. So whether you are an amateur using your smartphone or a budding photographer with a digital camera, here are 8 tips to help you capture memorable moments with your family this Christmas.
1. Pick memorable moments
Be sure to capture those special moments that are important to you and your family; from the kids realising Santa Claus has been, to decorating the Christmas tree together. Every household is unique, so take the time to snap the details that make Christmas special for you. A top tip to follow is to ensure you always have your camera at the ready so you don’t miss out on the perfect candid shot.
2. Pay attention to composition
If you are a beginner, framing and composing photos may seem difficult. However, with a few simple tips, you’ll be able to take photos like a pro in no time. As composition has to do with the placement of a subject, try to visualise the final shot before you take the photo. You may want to consider negative space within the image and at what angle you are shooting. If you are taking portrait photos, for instance, try placing the camera at eye level with your subjects.
Another important tip to remember is to always keep the rule of thirds in mind. Imagine a series of grid lines splitting your photo into three sections, both horizontally and vertically. Position your focal point on one of the dividing lines for the perfect shot.
You could always try shooting some test shots around your home before people start arriving. Think about possible composition for your photos and what elements in the space you could use to make your photos stronger. Just remember to always keep the end shot in mind – as it will help you to arrange the subjects within your frame.
3. Get up close
Getting up close to your subject can help focus on small details within your image. By zooming in or physically moving closer with your camera, it can help to increase the amount of blur in the out-of-focus parts. In return, this will help to highlight certain elements in the photograph, such as Christmas lights or ornaments. Extreme close-ups help to fill the frame and can have a profound impact on your image. Don’t be afraid to play around with props to help balance out the composition.
4. Make it fun for the kids
In order to get good photos of the children at Christmas, try keeping things natural and engaging. By encouraging them to play with toys, get involved with some Christmas baking, or even decorate the tree, you can help to create a stimulating environment where the children are in good spirits. The best shots are always taken when everyone involved is having fun, so make sure it is enjoyable for the kids.
5. Use the right equipment
One of the worst things that could happen whilst you are busy taking photographs, is realising you have run out of storage. To save time and to ensure you are well prepared ahead of this year’s festivities, invest in a couple of memory cards for your device. In particular, Kingston’s range of memory cards offers powerful performance, speed and durability, for reliability when shooting photos on the big day.
Ensuring you are ready to capture Christmas ahead of the day is key to shooting great photos. A top tip is to make sure all of your camera gear is ready to use before Christmas morning – check your camera batteries are charged, memory cards are empty ready to fill up, and lenses are clean.
6. Think of the background
One of the first things you can do before taking a photograph is to think about your background. If you are shooting people, separate your subjects from noisy and busy backgrounds. A simple background such as a wall or window will create great composition within your image and won’t draw attention away from the people in your shot. If you find the background is busy, move your subjects closer towards the camera for a stronger image.
Think about adding in a Christmas tree or fairy lights to help make the photograph look suitably festive.
7. Take both posed and candid photos
Christmas is a time that highlights the importance of your loved ones, and so you may want to focus on getting shots of the whole family sitting together. When organising a group portrait, try to place everyone’s heads at different levels by mixing up everyone’s positions. Try to use things around the room such as the sofa, or armrest to do so. You may need to make a few corrections in order to get the best composition. To ensure you are included in the family portrait, set up the timer on your camera, or use a Stabiliser Selfie Stick if you are shooting on a smartphone, to take the shot remotely.
Throughout the day, make an effort to capture some candid group shots too. From family members pulling Christmas crackers to the kids playing with new toys, these types of photos often turn out to be the favourites, as they document many heartwarming moments.
8. Experiment with light
Having a correctly lit Christmas scene, can make a significant difference to your photo and help to capture a magical atmosphere. However, shooting indoor lighting can be difficult with the warm Christmas lights. Pay attention to what type of light your shooting and make sure that your white balance is set correctly. Generally speaking, if you are inside or shooting in low light, such as from candles, you will need a high ISO. If you are new to photography, most cameras or even newer smartphones will have pre-sets which can help to balance out your colours and time of day you are shooting.
A good tip to spruce up the background or focal point of your images would be to utilise Christmas ornaments and lights.