Five Tips for Better Christmas Pictures

Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Digital Special Event Photography and other Digital Photography topics.

Five Tips for Better Christmas Pictures

When the holidays roll around so do parties, family gatherings and other special events. And that usually means the cameras come out. Here are five quick tips to get more out of your digital camera for those special holiday shots.

1) Use your fill flash indoors. If you're shooting an indoor event, chances are the light won't be natural. And while most cameras' auto white balance feature is pretty good, you can add a little insurance. Most of today's point-and-shoot digital cameras have a fill-flash setting. If you use the fill flash for your people pictures, you're more likel to get natural skin tones... without having to use Photoshop to fix them.

2) Beware of snow. Bright snow fools most cameras' light meters. Light meters read abundant snow as being medium gray - instead of bright white. The result is an over-exposed shot. If your camera has an exposure compensation feature, use it to "underexpose" the scene. With a little practice, you'll quickly figure out just how much adjustment will give you perfect snow shots every time.

3) Watch your backgrounds. Holiday pictures feature people with odd objects growing out of their heads more than pictures from any other time of year. Why? Because we decorate - and then pose our family and friends in front of, under or around the decorations. The result is a tree-topper growing from Uncle Ned's head or Rudolph's antler emerging from Cousin Nellie's armpit. Keep an eye on where you pose your subjects, and you can avoid this annual embarrassment.

4) Plan ahead. Will you be shooting the gift exchange? The family dinner? Your child's holiday concert? Take some time to get the lay of the land. Find a spot where you'll be able to shoot the action without interfering with it. For example, to avoid getting the backs of people's heads in your gift-exchange photos, you may want to shoot from almost behind the tree. A little advanced planning can make all the difference.

5) Shoot a story. Maybe the kids will be helping Grandma make her holiday cookies for the very first time. Imagine how everyone much will enjoy the story if you tell it from start to finish in photos. (And think of how much grandma will love having a slideshow of the event.) Lot's of holiday events lend themselves to story-telling. Caroling in the neighborhood. The holiday concert at school. Even putting up the tree or outdoor decorations. Opportunities abound.

Holiday pictures make great memories. And with these simple tips, you'll make your family's memories even more enjoyable.



6/24/2011 7:26:15 AM
Tracey said:

Some good points to think off. Especially the one about unexpected itms on peoles head.
Family get together photos are special in years to come, so you eant to get them right.

6/24/2011 11:29:53 AM
Chris said:

You want to overexpose snow shots, not underexpose them. The light meter reads snow as grey, so you need to overexpose to get it white.


URL: (optional)


Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Digital Photography Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.