It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year and some of us are already slowly pulling out the Christmas lights and all the decorations to put inside and on the outside of the home. Apart from this being one of my favorites season of the year, I’m excited to share some tips with you as to how you can capture some memorable Christmas decorations shots to add to your Christmas album and share with the family.
Doing Photography at Christmas brings a lot more joy than one would expect because each shot has a very sentimental meaning, similar to when you’re photographing a wedding. Each shot taken will be cherished and shared in the future with other family members and friends. This article will also be helpful if you’re a beginner looking to capture some great shots during the season so let’s begin.
I think myself along with many other photographers have mentioned tripods so much that it sounds just as important as walking around with your lens. Your tripod will be your best friend when photographing the decorations outside of a house or building for many reasons. One of the most important reasons is stability. You will more than likely be capturing some shots in very low light situations.
Low light situations mean you will be shooting at a low shutter speed with a high ISO and your aperture will vary depending on how you want your shot to look. With a low shutter speed, you cannot have too much movement as this will result in camera shake and eventually ruin your shots. Therefore, make a tripod a priority on your list of things to have when shooting Christmas decorations.
When shooting decorations, whether it be inside or outside, there are a few lenses that will come in handy. Since we started by shooting decorations outside, my first recommendation would be to use a wide angle low aperture lens.
A 35mm or 24mm f/2.8 might be wide enough to capture your subject and get a great edge to edge sharpness from your shot. In addition to those wide angles lenses, you could also fool around with a 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 to get more variations and that soft depth of field blur that everyone loves so much.
As best as you can, try not to use flash. When it comes to shooting decorations, it’s all about the lights and the pretty colors. Using a flash might damage the color profile of the lights and give you a substantial amount of post-production work to do just to correct the colors in your shot.
We will basically be doing low light photography so you can expect to be shooting at a slow shutter speed to capture all the colors you can. Depending on the lighting situation, you can test how slow you will need your shutter to be and check your LCD screen after. It won’t take that long to get the right shutter speed but I recommend starting at about 1/25 and work your way down from there if you need it to be slower. If it’s too slow then feel free to do the opposite and then gage your sweet spot and begin to shoot from there.
Speaking of shutter speed brings me to our next essential setting which is your ISO. When doing these low light shots for Christmas decorations, you don’t want to have your ISO too high and introduce a bunch of noise into your shot. I recommend starting at about 400 and work your way up or down from there. I strongly recommend however that you do not try to push your ISO too high. If you do so, it will result in your shot being overwhelmed by noise and becoming unappealing or creating to much work during post-production.
Depending on the limitations of the lens you’re shooting with, I would recommend trying the lowest aperture level first and then work your way up. Always keep in mind that the higher your aperture level is the darker things will get and the lower your aperture level is the brighter things will get. Try to test different values and see which best works out for you.
Try involve different elements into your shot and not let seem like a plain shot of just lights. If possible, Include some snow, water or even just some wet concrete to act as a reflective surface and add some dynamic to your shot. You will be surprised as to the result when you give this a try. It will make your shot more interesting and that much more appealing.
As usual, it’s always a pleasure sharing some assume tips with you to use in your day to day photography. As the season draws closer, stay safe and remember to have fun.