Thursday, December 8, 2016

Photography Tips for the Holiday

Christmas at Missouri Botanical Garden

Everybody enjoys looking at photographs from the holiday season.  It is the time we gather with friends and families, decorate for the occasion and celebrate the birth of our Savior.  What a great time to document these wonderful memories with photos.  Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Before the season is upon us check out your camera.  Make sure it is in good working order and that all your lenses are clean.
  • Make sure your batteries are charged and recharge them after each use.
  • You may want to consider purchasing an extra memory card to use for your holiday photos.
  • Make a list of things you want to photograph during this Christmas season.
  • Every year I try to photograph something different for the holiday.  This year I plan to go to my church after the decorations are up and take some photographs of the nave.  I'm thinking they may make a nice card for the following year. What can you try new this year?

 

Special Events


Special events are always a great time to take photos.  In the photo at the top of this article I photographed a tree at Missouri Botanical Gardens.  Since the photo was taken in the evening I used a tripod and a remote shutter release.  If you don't have those items available to use try to find somewhere to stabilize you camera.  A post, the top of your car, a bench and other stationary items will help you to avoid camera shake and capture some beautiful evening shots.


Try a Photo Walk


A photo walk through a decorated area is a great way to capture some street shots and decorations.  In the photos below I walked through historic Main Street in St. Charles, Missouri. This historic town on the banks of the Missouri river served as the first capitol of the state.

Below are a couple of the photos I shot.


Click Here for Zazzle products from these photos

 

Group  Photos


Group photos are a great way to preserve the memories of the people that attended the gatherings during the holidays.  Although candid shots can be fun, a planned group shot is a great way to include everyone.  Take the time to check the background in your photo.  You wouldn't want to end up with a candle sticking out of someones head.
Also make sure to check your lighting.  I prefer natural lighting, rather than flash, so in these photos I used a lens with a lowlight capability and a 1.8 aperture on the camera.  If I end up with a yellow tone, I can always adjust it in post processing with a slight slide of the tint or exposure slide.

For both the lighting and the background you may have to move your group to a better location in the room.  The first photo below is of my sister and her family.  Although the tree is in the background, I zoomed in on the people.  I see too many photos where someone has tried to get the whole tree in with the people.  That is usually not a good combination so my motto is decide what your focus is (the people or the tree) and set up your shot accordingly.

The second shot below is a group of high school friends of my husbands (he is in red sweater).  These guys have known each other for over 55 years and I wanted to capture them all in the photo.  They were somewhat patient with me as I moved them around to make sure everyone was seen in the photo.


 

Special Moments


Be sure to have your camera ready for those special moments.  Here is my husband with our oldest granddaughter, Rachel.  In these shots the background are not always perfect but I zoom in on the faces and capture the moment.

 

 

Kids and the Tree


Kids under the tree is always a good shot for Christmas.  Remember to take some shots before the presents are unwrapped.  In these photos you see our youngest granddaughters.


 

Zoom in on the Ornaments and Decoration


Along with the photos of family, friends and events, I like to take some artsy photos.  Christmas decorations and ornaments are always good subjects.  I like to use a little Bokeh ( a term that refers to keeping what is important in focus and blurring the rest).  In the first photo I was sitting on the sofa right in front of the candle in the foreground.  I set my aperture to 1.8 and zoomed in on the candle.  I was hand holding the camera so I steadied it on my knee.  I got the effect I wanted with the candle in focus and the fireplace blurred.   The second photo used the same principal but was taken of an ornament on the tree during the daytime.



Another fun Christmas shot is to take a photo and then edit out all of the color except the red.  I did that in the photo below of our Christmas tree and fireplace.




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8 comments:

  1. You have given several amazing holiday photography tips in this one article that I, myself, need to remember! I get in such a rush to take the photos of the family together so we can move on to the next activity that I often end up with photos not really worthy of display. I am amazed at your group shots above! Plus, your granddaughter hugging her plush animal is precious. I am going to try to carry your voice in my head this year and slow down long enough to get some really great shots myself. Thank you Mary Beth!

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  2. Mary Beth, your Christmas photos are beautiful and, as always, your photography suggestions are terrific. Love the candle photo with the blurred background. And the downtown decorations in St. Charles are such fun to see.

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  3. Very beautiful Christmas photography with some really great tips! Thank you! and Merry Christmas!

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  4. Love the idea to zoom in on ornaments, I usually forget to do that- good tip. Also a photo walk, what a great idea!

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  5. What helpful and excellent tips on "shooting" great Christmas photos! Love the special effects on the black and white Christmas shot. Very, very pretty!

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  6. You always have the best photography advice, I just wish I could take such beautiful photos as you do. Thanks for the tips and as always great job.

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  7. Oh Mary Beth, that Christmas tree is just beautiful as is the Wreath. Those would make beautiful Christmas cards for next year for sure. I learned a lot by reading through this Review, thanks for teaching me.

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  8. Great tips! I couldn't help notice what a lovely family you have. No wonder you like to get their photos. I have never been sorry I took photos during the holidays. I only wish I had taken more family photos when it counted, but we were using film back then and experimenting was more expensive.

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