10 Tips for Taking Better Christmas Photos

The holidays and festivals mean bringing together many family and friends. And bringing the family together usually means lots of pictures! These are some of our favorite tips to take better photos this holiday.

You can use a small digital camera, your smartphone or a digital SLR camera. It does not matter, because the principles of photography are quite similar, regardless of the equipment you are using. With these few tips, you can improve the photos of your family and have the perfect Christmas photos for which your whole family requests a copy.

First, Take test shots

Before people start to appear, take some photos of the ambient light in the room. If you use manual settings, this is especially useful, since you can determine the best aperture, ISO and shutter speed for your images before your family arrives.

Although the light through the windows probably changes after several hours, the electric lights will not fluctuate. Keeping this in mind, you should be able to stay within a range of configurations, as long as you stay indoors and in similar light configurations.

You can also use these test shots to start thinking about the possible composition of your photos (of which we will talk). more on in just a little).

Do not make your family own

"They all line up on the couch, smile, say" Cheese "and look happy!" The photos placed are not natural and do not do much, except that they show their family by pretending to smile. You probably can not avoid taking at least one posed photo like this at each family reunion, but it does not represent the event very well.

Focus on family photography as a photojournalist. An important event is occurring and you are trying to capture it as it happens. Is the baby laughing? Did the grandfather fall asleep? Did dad run away to smoke and be caught by mom? It can be much richer and more pleasant when you look at these photos to see people as they were, doing their thing. When you pose images, you are only capturing the fact that they were there, smiling stiffly.

Think of the light

Rule one is that photography is about capturing light. How is the room in which you are illuminated? Is it dark or dark? Is the bright light coming from the windows? Is there warm light coming from the bulbs, lamps or Christmas decorations?

Lighting is probably the most important part of good photographs and can make or break them. Pay attention to the colors present in the room and use different configurations to try to capture them.

At a minimum, try to prevent your subjects from being ruined by the backlight or by flashing in front of a black shadow background. [19659007] Do not be afraid of manual settings

Manual adjustments of ISO, aperture and shutter speed are not complicated if you learn a little about the exposure elements. There is no shame in using automatic settings; They are very useful in situations where light, people and the environment change rapidly. However, there are images for which an automatic configuration does not have the artistic nuance it needs. This is especially true when you try to capture the warm, soft and bright light of Christmas decorations and dimly lit environments. In that case, manual configuration is sometimes the only option.

Some cameras do not have an "M" for manual configuration. These can have a "P" for the program mode. Familiarize yourself with the camera and play with it, take test shots before the big Christmas party. Do not be afraid to experiment and mess up a few dozen shots! And if the manual continues to be a big fight, the automatic configuration is just a few clicks away. You can even control your iPhone's camera manually.

Even better, if you are using a DSLR, you can try a semi-automatic mode such as aperture priority mode, where you set aperture and ISO, but let your camera set the shutter speed based on the reading of your light meter.

Take pictures several times

The use of brackets is an important word in the photographer's vocabulary. Since digital photography has made taking a million photos so cheap, take as many as you can. Remember, that moment will never happen again, so taking the same picture twenty times and choosing the best image is better than taking it once and wanting to have a better picture.

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Be A Storyteller

Remember when we talk about not presenting your family? The metaphor of the photojournalist still applies. When you are taking pictures, take them with the result in mind. A good photo should tell a story, even a small one, and you should think about the story you are telling when you take the picture.

What are the people in your photos [19459021?] doing ? Are you cutting vegetables, unwrapping gifts, watching television or being attacked with eggnog? People are one of the most powerful subjects to photograph because we can immediately feel empathy for them and relate to what they are doing. Capture facial expressions and events, actions, happiness, tears and laughter. When you tell a story with your images, it makes it easier to go back to that moment again, even if you are not an expert photographer.

Pay attention to the composition

You may not be an artist, but photography is a visual art form. Again, you must start with the end in mind; Think visually when you shoot. Read about the average gold ratio and the thirds rule for information on how to make your shots look more interesting.

Too abstract? Take pictures only of the subjects you want in your final shot. Do not stop at the other side of the room and get many details in the shot that do not help the photo. When taking pictures of the children, take one knee and lower yourself to your level, so that all your shots are not the head. And do not always put the dead subject in the center of the shot, as it becomes boring, especially when you show your photos later.

And if you want to take your composition beyond the simple rule of thirds, take some time to learn how to use the initial lines in your space and how you can use the foreground and background to strengthen your photos. Remember when we talk about taking some test photos in your house before the guests arrive? It is also the perfect time to start thinking about how you can use the natural compositional elements in your space.

RELATED: What is composition in photography?

Try it with and without the flash

When making brackets, traditionally, take the same photo with multiple aperture settings or shutter speed to make sure it exposes correctly. With digital cameras, you have a good idea immediately if you have displayed your image well or not, so try to put square brackets on your image with and without flash, especially if you are using automatic settings.

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Use a tripod if you have to

It does not lend itself well to photographing like a photojournalist, but using a tripod will allow you to use slow shutter speeds to capture light from dim environments. Christmas trees and low light can look very beautiful with long exposures, so if you are going to pose for your family, take advantage of the fact that they are sitting still for so long and install that tripod

RELATED: How to select and use a tripod

Use the ISO configuration of the lowest possible number in dark rooms

The lower the ISO, the less grain you get in your low-light shots. If you are going to have many of these, using an ISO of 200, 400 or 800 is better for the grain than 1600 or more. You may have to compensate for lower ISO settings by using longer exposures and a tripod, but you can prevent your images from being grainy.

RELATED: What is the ISO setting of your camera?

Extra tip: if it's not perfect, Photoshop It

We said it before: that moment is special … and you can never go back to it. If your shots are not perfectly exposed, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or GIMP can give you the tools to improve them. You can take a great composition for a nice moment, but find out that the exposure settings are not perfect, or that the white balance is a little off. While you should expect to expose the images perfectly at all times, the fact is that this is not likely, especially if you are demanding with your images. Here are our favorite HTG articles on using Photoshop to improve your photos:

Image credits: photos of Murilo Cardoso, zolakoma, Ewen Roberts, Jeffrey Smith, Phil Campbell, Rebecca Peplinski, marcp_dmoz, KungFuStu , Greg Wagoner, Phong Nguyen, Brad Trump Photography, Deana, Duane Schoon, Liam Burke and Kevin Dooley, all through Flickr, available in Creative Commons.

Source howtogeek com

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