Creative Christmas Photography: Episode 2

Hello, and welcome to the second and final episode of my “Tips for better Christmas photography”.

Here’s the next tip…

Photography Tip #3. Opening Presents – Shoot in Continuous Mode

There are certain moments during Christmas that give you lots of photographic opportunities and the opening of presents is one of them.  There’s loads of emotions, expressions and excitement – especially if you’ve got kids around. 

"Christmas presents" by Gale Photography

"Christmas presents" by Gale Photography

Set your camera on burst/continuous-shooting mode, and take lots of pictures. You’ll find you get a great series of shots that capture everything from anticipation, to the excitement of unwrapping, to pleasure of seeing what’s inside.  Don’t forget to shoot the reactions of those who GIVE the gift as well.  When you are the present giver get someone else to take the pictures!

Photography Tip #4. Capture the preparation stages

The actual Christmas meal or party is obviously the best part of the day, but there are other photographic opportunities, particularly in the preparation stages; putting up decorations, food preparation, wrapping gifts, excited children, Santa outfits hanging on the door, setting the table, lighting the candles, relatives arriving. 

"Christmas tree candle" by Gale Photography

"Christmas tree candle" by Gale Photography

All of these add to the Christmas atmosphere. You could also take a series showing how a room has changed as it’s decorated – or a series showing the different ingredients for the meal – or before and after images of kids in fancy dress.

Photography Tip #5.  I’m dreaming of a grey Christmas

Lastly, if you are lucky and have a white Christmas, you may be disappointed at how grey looking the snow pictures are.  This is because camera exposure meters are set to record scenes with fairly equal areas of dark and light all over the frame.  Scenes with lots of white in them, such as snow, make camera underexpose, which lets in too little light to make the snow properly white. 

"Underexposed snow" by Gale Photography

"Underexposed snow" by Gale Photography

You can make the snow whiter by setting the exposure compensation on your camera.  (Read your camera manual if you aren’t sure how to do this).   Try a setting of +1 first and see how it looks.  If you need more just dial +1½ or +2 of compensation.  Ideally it will be white but still with some texture; if it’s just plain white then you’ve gone too far.  Remember to reset it once you are away from the snow. 

"Properly exposed snow" by Gale Photography

"Properly exposed snow" by Gale Photography

Tip within a tip: If you’ve got your camera cold by using it outside, don’t take it straight back into your nice, warm, humid house or you risk getting lots of condensation on, or inside it.  Delicate electronics don’t like this!! Leave it in your coat pocket in the hall for ½ an hour or so to let it warm up slowly.

I hope these tips help you get better Christmas photos.  Remember even though it comes round once a year, things change in our lives and it’s important to get the best images we can every year.

Have a great Christmas and a phabulously photographic New Year.

If you’ve enjoyed these tips, do tell your friends about them.  If you would like to enjoy a whole day packed with tips and techniques for great photography, come along to one of our photographic training courses.  Have a look at  www.lifestylephotos.co.uk for details.

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