Photography and Christmas seem to go hand in hand. With all of your family and friends together, you have a chance to create imagery that will be shared online, physically printed out, mailed across the globe and cherished for generations with the power of digital imaging. So, in my next 10 posts, i’ll share with you 10 Christmas Photography Tips to make sure those photos turn out great.
1 Bump Your ISO
Find the right ambient-to-flash balance, even if that means bumping the ISO to 1600, 3200 and even 6400 depending on your camera body. On full frame professional cameras, like the Canon 5D Mark IV, Nikon D850, or Sony a9, don’t be afraid to go up to 6400. On entry level cameras like the Canon Rebel or Sony a6500, keep your ISOs at 1600 and below to avoid too much image degradation.
2 Use Lower Apertures
Create beautiful bokeh in your Christmas background lights by dropping your apertures. The image below is shot with a Nikon 50mm f1.8 Lens at F 1.8. Of course, you have to be very accurate with your focus at such shallow depth of fields, but if you can get your subjects sharp, the low apertures will really make your images pop and bring out those beautiful background Christmas lights. If your lens is capable, try staying at f2.8 or below.
3 Use Natural Light (Avoid Flash)
If you’re looking to create natural, warm and moody images, make sure you turn off your flash for some (if not most) of your photos. This allows the ambient light of the Christmas lights or fireplace to show up in your images and allows parts of the scene to fall off into shadow.
4 Get Close
Putting the subject of your photo closer to the camera can help increase the amount of blur in the out-of-focus parts of the image, which works great for small details like Christmas ornaments. Be sure to keep your apertures low and consider using a macro lens to get in even closer while still being able to focus. Again, consider turning off your flash to maintain the natural, moody feel.
5 Make them have fun.
The Holiday season is a time of fun and cheer. Be sure to step away from those classic smile-into-the-camera poses and get silly. As the photographer, whether you’re hired professionally to capture a holiday event or you’re simply photographing your family, it’s your job to get great reactions, smiles, and poses from your subjects. For this shot, for example, the mom of these two angels prepared small gifts that were offed to girls on the very exaxt moment when the photo was taken. Their emotions are genuine and so beautiful.
6 Stay Active And Ready For Great Reactions
Stay ready and actively anticipate smiles and laughs. Keep your camera up as your family and friends open their gifts and snap away at the reactions. Some of your best shots from Christmas will be the non-posed, in-the-moment images.