9 Tips for Festive Holiday Photography

Our cameras often come out during holiday gatherings, whether it’s indoors to capture a special family time or outdoors for recreational activities. Follow some of these tips to get a professional look to your photos.

  1. Try placing your subject, such as a running dog or bird perched on a snowy branch, off-center or near the top or bottom of the frame. Use the rule of thirds. If the animal is looking at you, it’s better if there’s more white space in front of the animal instead of behind. Otherwise it may look like you just got the tail end of him as he ran by.
  2. Decide on your focus and be exact. It’s not enough to say you’re focusing on the eyes of a person or animal. A pro photographer will focus on one eye in particular. (Usually the subject’s eye that is closest to the camera.)
  3. For outdoor photographs of people, even in sunshine, use a flash. It fills the harsh, hollow shadows and gives a natural glow to skin tone.
  4. Get to know your camera settings, particularly in different lighting situations and try experimenting with the adjustments for landscape, portraits, night scenes, etc.
  5. Snow is often a difficult thing to accurately capture because it may look too blue or too yellow in the finished photograph. What you’re aiming for is pure white. Some of the shadows may be on the blue side, or in evening light, some of the snow may be golden, which may be your artistic choice. However, it’s important to adjust the white balance or the lighting balance before you shoot in a snowy background. One way you can do this is by turning the controls on your camera to whatever matches the conditions you’re shooting under – daylight, cloudy, etc. You can always adjust the white balance in post-editing software, but it won’t be as time-consuming if you adjust beforehand.
  6. If you’re going for a long hike with your camera, be prepared with the proper outdoor gear.
  7. Colors are often intense when we’re shooting holiday decorations, gift packages, food displays, people and clothing. Getting to know your ISO controls, shutter speed, and aperture – known as the three pillars of exposure – is crucial in correctly capturing brilliant hues.
  8. Try shooting from an unusual angle to make the photograph more interesting.
  9. Have you ever tried black and white photography during the holiday season? It might capture the drama of a snowy landscape beautifully.

Happy holidays! I’d love to know if you have any other tips. Leave a comment below with your own experience.

Image credit: LookLagoon.com