Are you ready to capture a professional-looking Christmas photo in front of your Christmas tree? Christmas tree photography is easier than you think, and you can capture a photo with wow factor that you’ll treasure for years to come. Read on for tips whether you have a DSLR camera, point-and-shoot camera, or a smart phone camera.
My Laguna Lane blog is all about creating special moments on a budget. Capturing priceless Christmas photos myself to enjoy in future years definitely falls in that category for me. So I hope you’ll find this helpful as family gathers and hopefully lots of memories are made and captured!
Christmas Tree Photography – Kicking Our Old Habits
Photos in front of the Christmas tree are timeless. Whether taking photos of kids, adults, or families, we all love capturing moments in front of a lit Christmas tree. But if you’re like me and most other people, you’re probably going about it all wrong.
Here’s what we normally do…
- Stick the subject(s) right in front of the tree
- Take the photo at night with the flash on
And here’s the result of that effort… Not bad but nothing too special either.
A few simple tweaks will take your photos from OK to gorgeous.
Christmas Tree Photography – Upping Your Game
I take lots of photos, but I’d still describe myself as an amateur photographer. Without lots of time to invest in classes or watching videos, I’m always looking for simple ways to up my game. I have a DSLR camera, specifically a Canon EOS Rebel T3i (here’s the latest model).
Inspired by this Schultz Photo School post, I decided to try his tips for improving my Christmas tree photography. [Sign up for this quick and free course for even more photography tips] Please refer to his post for more detail, but in short…
- Take Christmas tree photos during the day, and have the subject(s) facing natural light.
- Put a few feet between the tree and the subject(s).
- Don’t try to capture the subject head-to-toe, and instead get a little closer-in.
- Shoot with your largest aperture to maximize the blurriness of the background.
Isn’t the difference between the photo above and the photo below amazing? The tree lights stand out more but don’t compete with my children. The details of the tree blur into a nice Christmas ambiance.
So if you have a DSLR camera, shoot in Aperture (“AV”) mode. Set the aperture to the lowest setting that your lens will allow. For these photos, I used a common portrait lens (50 mm f1.8) set to f2.8. But even doing this with the basic lens included with a DSLR camera will let you go to f4.5, which will still help blur the background.
I love how these photos really capture their personalities.
Christmas Tree Photography – Point-and-Shoot / Smart Phone Cameras
You still have options without a DSLR camera. With a point-and-shoot camera, set it to portrait mode. Again, make sure to get close to the subject.
With a cell phone camera, try blurring the background after taking the photo using an app (for example, After Focus). The latest cell phone cameras are also starting to incorporate portrait modes, so try looking for that as well.
I’m obviously no professional, and I’m sure there are at least 10 things I could do better with the photos above. But it’s certainly better than where I started, and I’ll take that!
If you’d like more easy-to-digest and free photo tips, sign up for this quick & easy photo course through Schultz Photo School. I did it about 6 months ago, and it has changed how I take photos for the better. And it’s all in everyday, non-technical language, so anyone can understand it.
How do you get great photos during the holidays? What’s your favorite holiday background?
Check out my other Christmas posts: