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December 23, 2011

Christmas Morning Photo Tips

I have been asked several time if I have any great ideas that I could share that would help a beginner photog get better Christmas photos.
Here are a few of my ideas:

1. Set your (WB) White Balance to AUTO. There are so many different light sources going on that it's best to just let the camera choose which is best for the scene.
2. To insure that you get those action shots of your little ones tearing into their Christmas gifts, make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/125 of a sec.
3. Don't be afraid to raise your ISO. Cameras now days can handle higher ISO settings. If it's to dark to achieve a fast shutter speed, raising the ISO up a notch or two will help insure that you will at least get the shot. You can always turn the shot to B&W if it really appears to noisy.
4. Check your aperture. A good aperture setting to insure that you get some great all around shots is at f/8.
5. Check your batter. Charge it while your tucked in so that it's ready for the mornings action.
6. Get setup. Plan ahead for the shots you want to take even if it means getting up a bit early.
7. Get down or get up high. Get a new perspective on the scene.
8. Shoot in (P) mode if all else fails. At least you will still have some control over your camera.
9. Try telling a photo story. Capture the details, expressions and mess.
10. Don't forget that you can always put your camera down and join in on the fun.

Get as much light in the room as you can – turn up ambient lighting, open shades – we want to be able to use natural light – if you have to use the flash, turn it down!
Look at the scene – are there windows behind your tree? If you shoot directly at the windows – your pictures will come out dark. Move to the side, look for a better spot, find a good angle, change up angles
Be ready to push the shutter at a moments notice – we are looking to capture natural expressions on your children’s faces
Get down on the ground with them while they are opening presents
Shoot quickly and shoot often! You don’t want to miss anything – you can edit later!
Don’t forget the detail shots – a beautiful ornament, a bow on a present – we can tell a beautiful story by including these pictures
Document the day – start the night before – take pictures of Santa’s cookies, the tree before the kids wake up (refer to my tips of photographing holiday lights), your children sleeping, stockings hanging on the mantle…
If your pictures are too blurry – then add a flash (only as a last resort!)

Here is a suggestion for an interesting shot of your kids opening up their gifts under the tree: use a tripod, turn up ambient lighting, if flash is built into camera: turn flash off or down, use longer exposure setting, set the dial on the big P: Program Mode, focus on the tree. The result should be a great shot of your tree and children with motion blur!

Footnote: these are general rules – all rules can be broken or depending on your experience level – interpreted in your own way or completely ignored! This is one way – but not the only way! Play around with what works for you and your camera!


Gisele said...

Great tips! Thanks for writing them up.

Lois said...

Good tips!
Merry Christmas!

Barkha said...

your site is beautiful...
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