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Photography tips for Christmas & New Year

Christmas decoration is filling the stores and roads and it’s just a few days until Christmas so I thought I write this topic on how and what and when to shoot for Christmas. 

Prepare and pack you gear….

Make sure you are ready to capture the Christmas party or Christmas day. This is key for successfully shooting any event. So get ready before hand and plan for the location and shoot even if invites are family and friends:

  • Pack the camera  – daaah obvious right? If you have another DSLR pack it also for backup. I usually put mu 18-200mm lens on my Canon EOS 7D and my prime fifty fixed 50mm lens on my 600D/Rebel T3i for blowing the background effect. 
  • Charge all your camera batteries overnight and make sure you charge your flash batteries also if you use rechargeable ones. In all cases take extra packs for backup. 
  • Have additional memory cards and don't forget to format those a day before the event. 

Have a White "Balanced" Christmas

Assess the light in the main room/venue that you’ll be photographing in. Is there enough light? Will you need a flash? Are the backgrounds too cluttered and distracting? Are light tungsten or fluorescent? Do you need to input custom white balance to the camera or available presents will do? Do some test shots and assess the color temperature for optimum light color. I prefer to move away from Auto, stick to one preset and shoot all time with it. Off course if you shoot in RAW like me, you can change all this in post-processing.

Prepare a shooting moments list

As with wedding photography and any event photography, prepare a list of moments you want to capture:

  • Roads decoration 
  • Food preparation
  • Table setup
  • Decoration  
  • Opening the gifts
  • Santa's visit / lap song
  • 00:00 New Years celebration  
  • Champagne opening
  • Aftermath :) 

Shoot Outdoor

Get out and take photos of the snow-covered houses and lawns in your area. Some people go bizark with their enthusiasm for the season and have overwhelmed their houses with lighting and arrangements – these make excellent subjects and backgrounds for your photos. Shooting at night needs long shutter speeds – below 1/15 (which might require a tripod) – to get some spectacular shots of the lit-up houses. 

Final Thoughts

Christmas holiday and New Year are heavily photographed events, most of which are cliche. It is important to approach you photography with a fresh eye for doing something different. Use your imagination... Utilize the ornaments and the lights. Experiment with the bokeh technique. Focus on your subject’s eyes and work to position your family in intimate positions that emphasizes their close relationship and the joy for the season. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Get close on decoration and blow out the clutter.

Shoot food and the preparation process, table setup, etc.

Get family and fiends closeer together for a group photo.

Dramatic Christmas lights, tree, and decoration

Get closer, crop and use a tripod. Set ISO to 100 to reduce noise in black and shadows

Subjects are all around you