For many people, holiday photography is their most important record of their family and friends gathered to enjoy the spirit of the season. Whether it’s American Halloween; the days of Thanksgiving throughout the world; or Christmas, Chanukah, Ashura or Kwanza at the end of the year, the more of the photography tips in this article you follow, the better your holiday photography will be.
Assuming that you like photography, and want to improve your skills, then volunteer to be the “official” photographer for all your holiday events and celebrations. That will give you many opportunities to shoot the holiday photos of all the decorations, family and friends and those special moments that can only be captured in holiday photography. Now that everyone recognizes you as the official holiday photographer, your first step is to make sure you’re prepared. Just like cooking a holiday meal, you need all the ingredients to make your holiday photos just as tasty and to be savored forever. Your important ingredients include fully charged digital camera batteries, some extra batteries and blank memory cards, a tripod and flash unit.
Once your equipment is ready to take holiday photography, think about creating a setting in your home or wherever you’re celebrating the holidays to shoot pictures of everyone. If it’s Christmas, then use some decorations—greenery, colored lights, ornaments, etc.—for a festive background. You may want a few Santa hats in different sizes that family members, guests and even pets can wear when photographed. Of course, you want more than individual or group holiday portraits. In fact, you may capture some of your most interesting holiday photography before the actual day of your gathering, and at other locations. For instance, consider taking holiday photos of shopping expeditions, so those receiving gifts have a record of how those giving gifts decided what to buy. You can also shoot a wonderful series of holiday photography of your home being decorated, family members wrapping gifts and the preparation of all that food and holiday delicacies.
Other sources of memorable holiday photography are the decorations on your street and throughout your community, the arrival of out-of-town family members and guests, caroling and children playing in the snow, building snowman or having a friendly snowball fight. If gift giving is part of your holiday celebration, then make sure to catch the genuine surprise and delight on everyone’s face as they open their gifts. The gift givers will also react in ways that are spontaneous and perfect holiday images to share for years to come. You could also shoot a series of holiday photos of gift giver and recipient together, with the gift. You’re sure to record more of these special moments for your holiday photography if you set your camera to burst, or continuous shooting, mode.
As the designated holiday photographer, you want to join the festivities, but also pay attention to the technical details that will result in even better holiday photos. Holiday, or Christmas, lights can be a challenge, so it’s smart to experiment with them once they’ve been strung, but before everyone gathers. You might also want to practice with your flash before the big day and learn how to diffuse and reflect light off white or bright surfaces. Using your camera’s night, or slow sync, mode will also help you create better holiday photos. Your flash will freeze objects in your pictures, but still allow some of the room’s light to enter the frame, so your pictures aren’t so dark. You can also set your camera to its macro mode to take holiday photo close-ups of ornaments, candles, greenery and those carefully decorated Christmas cookies.
Holiday photography is only difficult if you aren’t prepared and haven’t thought about the kinds of pictures you want to take. Learn how to be an observer with your camera and use these holiday photography tips, and you’ll enjoy these special moments as well as preserve them forever.