Look for Photos of Christmas Lights, Family, Santa , Decorations, Etc.!Just consider some of the subjects that BetterPhoto photographers have captured: Shots of kids and cats dressed up like Santa, colorful images of Christmas bows and wrap, and of course, pictures of Santa himself. And not all successful images are in color - some are in glorious black-and-white too!
Also, plan to have lots fun. In fact, BetterPhoto shooters have made soooooo many awesome images that elicit a smile, an out-and-out laugh, or an "ahhhhh, that's cute" reaction. For example, check out these photos, all past contest winners or finalists: "Looks Like Naughty", "One Last Merry Christmas", "Lukas", "...uh, A Little Help Here?", "Holiday Spirits", "My Holiday Helper", "Santa Paw's!", "Happy Holidays from Danielle", "Ho ... Ho ... Ho", and many others.
The key to holiday success? Experiment, with different subjects, perspectives, and compositions. The only hard-and-fast rule for photographing the Christmas festivities seems to be this one: Keep your camera close at hand! See them at BetterPhoto's Christmas Photographs gallery.
Creative Ways for Photographing the HolidaysDon't miss BetterPhoto founder/photographer Jim Miotke's excellent article - Top Ten Tips for Better Holiday Photos - with techniques to make great pictures of Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other mid-winter holiday. Some highlights from Jim's guide:
Compose Creatively and Move in Close
Shoot First, Ask Questions Later
Use Flash Outdoors
Getting Artistic ... Also, Planning Your StrategyLook for Reflections
Add an artistic touch to your holiday photos by capturing reflections rather than the object itself. Keep an eye out for interesting splashes of color, reflected from Christmas lights and other holiday decorations. This is one time when rainy days are your friends - puddles in the street can be a perfect source of abstract images.
Blur, Swirl, and Zoom Those Christmas Lights
Plan Ahead: Charge Batteries, and Clear Cards or Buy Film
Exposure Tips for Photographing Christmas LightsHere's expert advice from a previous BetterPhoto Forum post on how to prevent Christmas lights from overexposing and blowing out:
"Your camera meter sees the dark green tree and these little light bulbs, and in trying to determine the best exposure, ends up blowing out, or overexposing the light bulbs. Often, the only way it works is to use supplemental strobes and light boxes. Or use your on-camera flash as a fill light. Put your camera on the tripod and compose your picture. Take some test shots on M for manual, not P or A. Adjust your shutter speed and/or f-stop until the Christmas lights look great. Most likely, the rest of the tree will be very dark, and now you use your flash to open up those areas. Turn on the flash on your camera and shoot another. If it looks too "flashed", then go into the menu and reduce the flash output starting at -1; then if you need more, try -1.3, -1.6, -2. Hopefully, something in there will work."
And, from the same Q&A thread, these exposure thoughts from BetterPhoto member Doug Elliot: I have been working on a project for our local CofC. I am shooting outside lights. I use a tripod and shutter release, and meter for the lights. I shoot in manual mode, tungsten mode for white balance, and Raw. I also bracket my shots.
Great Resources for Photographing the Holiday SeasonBetterPhoto articles:
- Top Ten Tips for Better Holiday Photos
- Holiday Idea: BetterPhoto Gift Cards!
- Snow Photography: Big Bear Lake Skiing, Aspen Snowboarding, Etc.
About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Kerry Drager
Be sure to check out Kerry's Pro BetterPholio website - www.kerrydrager.com.
Also, he is the author of Scenic Photography 101, the photographer of the photo-essay books The Golden Dream: California from Gold Rush to Statehood and California Desert , a contributor to the books BetterPhoto Basics and Daybreak 2000, and a co-photographer of Portrait of California. In addition, Kerry was profiled in the April 1994 issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine and in Vik Orenstein's 2010 book The Photographer's Market Guide to Building Your Photography Business, and his website was showcased in the January 2003 issue of Shutterbug magazine. Plus, his work has appeared in magazines, Hallmark cards and Sierra Club calendars, and in advertising campaigns for American Express and Sinar Bron Imaging.
Kerry lives with his wife, Mary, on California's Central Coast, with their three Newfoundland dogs, four cats, and a mixed terrier.