Photography Tips for your Christmas | St. Louis Photographer

We are five days aways from Christmas! For some of you, shopping is complete and the gifts are nicely wrapped resting under the tree or in a closet ready to be put out. For others, we are frantically trying to get those last few gifts before Amazon can no longer guarantee shipping or the stores close for holiday. Regardless of where you land, there will be limitless opportunities to capture photos of loved ones and fun holiday traditions. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the season.

Don’t stress about a camera

As a photographer, I often cringe when I hear someone say, “I’ll just take it with my phone,” but when it comes to the ease of use and the convenience, a camera phone is a good tool. While a camera phone doesn’t have a large sensor like a DSLR or mirrorless camera and can’t zoom as well as a basic point-and-shoot, it will do its job in capturing moments of you and your family. Mark off your list “Find a good camera” because unless you want to do major editing on an image, want to enlarge it or have the zoom capability, your camera phone will work just fine.

Before the busy season, play around with your camera phone features that you may want to utilize. If you have an iPhone you can hold the focus box which will lock focus in place and give you a slider where you can play around with brightness. Also, if your camera has HDR, you may find it provides better detail, though it does combine multiple images into one to achieve this feature.

Images taken with iPhone

Get the best shots of Christmas light displays

It’s a normal tradition to visit a few light displays during the holiday season. (I’m waiting until someone creates a Thanksgiving display to add to the Halloween and Christmas ones!) While some are now created to walk through, many have been created to drive through. When taking photos inside the car, ask the driver to stop shortly and roll down that window before you snap. You might be a little colder, but in the long run will have a crisper image to remember your experience. Also flash can often wash out the light displays so have it off in your settings.

If you’re walking through a display, it’s okay to slow down and stop to snap a scene that you really enjoy. I can often feel rushed or even feel herded when it’s a busy night at a display and regret not getting a shot. Take your time going through, steer clear of the big groups and start taking those photos. 

Two images of Christmas light displays
A comparison of an image with car window down and the other up

Capture the details

Often we take photos of our family and friends, but neglect images of the tree, the food, the centerpiece…things that make the traditions more alive when we revisit the photos. If you’re hosting the event, make sure to give yourself a few moments to capture those shots before guests arrive so you can compile them later with images of those in attendance. If you’re heading to a friend or family’s, arrive promptly and quickly snap those photos before everyone shows up.

Detail images from the Christmas season

Make sure to take photos but put down the phone

As a photographer, I easily get into the groove of taking photos with my camera and then forget to live in the moment. I’ve worked hard to be more mindful so I put down my camera and actually enjoy the time. I can’t stress this enough: Capturing the moment isn’t the same as living it. If you’re using your phone’s camera, eliminate the temptation of checking Facebook or quickly posting a few photos – that can wait. Consider removing your social apps if you feel you can’t use the camera without heading directly to them. 

Get in the photo

It’s super easy to start snapping away but then walk away from an evening with family or friends and realize you aren’t in any of the photos. Ask someone to take a photo of you with others. Get those adorable kids together for a fun selfie moment with you. Sneak a quick kiss underneath the mistletoe with your love while your child takes the photo. Soon not only will you have moments of the fun, but you’ll have captured moments of yourself too!

Images of photographer in the shot
Note: This was originally written for Grey House Goods 
Want to book a session? Click here
Join my mailing list here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *