Christmas morning is a magical time. The excitment of what Santa left under the tree. The joy of of seeing that he loved the cookies and milk and its all gone except for a few crumbs. Mom and dad watching with a huge smile on their face and in their heart as the little ones smile ear to ear tearing open the wrapping paper to see whats inside. Photographers naturally want to capture all of these moments. And naturally, most of us are overcome by wanting the image to be perfect. Continue reading for a few tips and advice on how to get those perfect Christmas images.
1. DON’T TAKE THIS PICTURE ON CHRISTMAS MORNING
Why not? Well, because if you are anything like me when I have a camera in my hand, I tend to get a little OCD about the pictures I am taking. Even if its just for fun. Trying to pose and direct your kids when they are wanting nothing more than to enjoy their gifts, is just a recipie for disaster and uncooperation. And crabbiness! Absolutely capture the candid moments as they are joyfully opening up their gifts, but save the posing for later.
2. STEP AWAY FROM THE TREE
I see this far too often. And not just with Christmas trees. Regular trees too. Placing the subject right next to the tree gives you zero depth. A flat picture. And too much going on that the eyes viewing the artwork just don't know where to go.
You want that bokeh!
To acheive the beautiful bokeh effect from the lights on your tree (when the lights becoming circular and blurry), make sure your child is placed several feet in front of the tree. The further the child is from the tree and the closer she is to the camera, the wider the bokeh.
3. F/STOP LOW, ISO HIGH, FLASH OFF
Here’s the technical part. Set your f/stop quite low. Between f/2 – f/3.5 will provide the best results. Keep your shutter speed at a minimum of 1/200 to prevent motion blur. Now raise the ISO until you get a decent exposure. Using a flash or turning on extra room lights will add unwanted shadows and glare so try to avoid these if you can.
4. GO FOR ENGAGEMENT
For the most magical images, get your child to hold or play with a toy, or to hug a sibling. Images which show a child fully engaged in the moment tell a more exciting story than a child simply looking at the camera.
5. GET LOW AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE WHOLE TREE
The most important part of this picture is the child, not the tree. The tree is just part of the background story! Get all the way down on your tummy with the camera near the floor and shoot slightly upwards. Don’t worry if you can’t fit the whole tree in the shot — just a little bit will be enough to add that wonderful glow in the background. And just as the image above, don't be affraid to capture the not so traditional images.
Because it is almost Christmas, here is a little gift: How about 100 snow overlays? Yes? Great! Just click the button below to download!
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