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  • Writer's pictureGiovanni Rusconi

Photographing at Christmas and New Year


Photographing at Christmas and New Year

Christmas photos are among the most beautiful memories of our childhood and of our family and friend life in general: our warm intimate life gathers together in Christmas days like in no other part of the year.

With the right attitude and the correct display of the Christmas tree full of fairy lights, at the base of which children sit and unwrap presents, there is a wonderful photo opportunity. Even dim light can be used by amateur photographers, without affecting the Christmas spirit in unforgettable shots.

How to do it? We show you here with our photography tips.


Camera settings for photos in rooms

Taking photos with or without flash?

The Christmas atmosphere in the photo is quickly destroyed by the harsh light of the flash. The eyes are red, the lighting of the Christmas tree is too exposed – the subject is not contrasted in the same way and the harmonious atmosphere of Christmas seems to belong to a horror film.

This is due to too strong a flash directly illuminating faces and objects. Each camera also offers manual settings to decrease flash power.

If the lighting is too dark, use the flash at reduced power and flash indirectly. Even on a compact camera, the flash can be covered with fabric to reduce light output. Make all the necessary attempts in time and don't improvise on Christmas Day!


Iso, in other words photosensitivity

In order to optimize the images planned for Christmas, it is useful to deactivate the flash and increase the sensitivity to light. Therefore, the ISO value can be set to 1600 or higher.


Exposition time

The shutter speed can also be set longer to take photos without a direct flash. In any case, you should therefore use a tripod or the camera on a cabinet or shelf. The effects of camera shake are greater due to the exposure time.

When your camera is positioned well and you set the self-timer to 10 seconds, a stunning Christmas family portrait should be the result we expect.

Experiment with the camera settings and take some test shots with one or two people before the actual photo.


Photograph from different angles

You get interesting Christmas images when you photograph a seated group, for example, from a side view and capture the laughter and interaction.

With children, it is also worth shooting from above or from the ground. As children sit on the floor and happily unwrap presents, the subject photographed from above takes on a new excitement. Even lying on the carpet, take unique photos of happy children's faces.


Image format

Be aware before using a landscape or portrait format. In the right drawing of the image lies the magic of a magical moment. When the grandmother looked thoughtfully and with a smile on her face at the children playing, the deliberately chosen portrait in portrait mode certainly produces one of the most beautiful Christmas images that will be appreciated by the whole family.


Nativity scenes and candles

It is advisable to also photograph the nativity scene from a tripod. Dispense with flash and choose a long exposure. Try different shutter speeds in peace. The luck of having a static subject is that you can set long times without fear of the subject moving.

If you want to photograph candles, a faster shutter speed should be selected, if you want to capture the static flame since the flames are unfortunately always moving, like river water.

However, you can experiment with slightly longer times to achieve particular color effects. To isolate the candles from the background, choose a wide aperture (low f-number), and blur the background.


Photos of the Christmas tree and other original motifs

In addition to the light conditions, the choice of subject and image section for a successful Christmas photos are important. Try photographing still lifes or original subjects.

It is not necessary that the images provided express the festive atmosphere, usually the best shot happens when you press the shutter button spontaneously.

Don't pose your loved ones too often, but ask them to do something, for example examine the camera, and in the meantime get ready to shoot with a second camera.

Especially with such images, it is important that the lighting conditions are correct and that the faces are illuminated not directly with the flash.


Take a photo with a steady hand or with a tripod

When images are taken without a tripod, the rush to celebrate the moment at the Christmas tree often causes blurry images. Hold the camera steady with your hands and at the crucial moment, hold your breath. Do not press the shutter button suddenly, but gently.

If the shot taken is too dark, use the flash with reduced power if possible and diffused if possible.

Even on a compact camera, the flash can be covered with fabric to reduce light output. You can also try this in peace before taking the party shots.


Take a photo from outside

Nowadays there are many balconies lit up at Christmas and manicured gardens on every corner - you will find many wonderful subjects for outdoor photos. Warm your hands by wearing heavy gloves, assemble the tripod and bring spare batteries: set off for your impromptu shootings.

Particularly beautiful moods can be achieved with long exposures or a program of nocturnal motifs. Turn off the flash and focus manually, as autofocus often reaches its limits in the dark. The Christmas lights are particularly beautiful at sunset. With an aperture closed from f11 the lights get a star effect.

Finally, we summarize the most important photography tips for your Christmas photos:

Check the correct setting on your camera, such as night light or shooting in low light Select a higher ISO and turn off the flash if necessary Take photos in dark rooms with a tripod Take test shots beforehand to get the right shot laterTry unusual subjects and anglesTake photos of the festive atmosphere without posing people or asking them to look at the cameraIf possible, choose a wide aperture (small f-number) to create background blurWhen pressing the shutter button, hold briefly the air and gently press the release button Even with a simple camera, you can take wonderful Christmas photos. Use your camera's program types and dare to look at unusual angles. In the same approach, you can also keep New Year's Eve with beautiful photos.

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