There is, of course, no denying the fact that the holidays are almost here! It is indeed the time for professional photographers to improve their Christmas photography skills. The winter holidays are one of the most creative times of the year. It does not matter if you’re a budding landscape photographer or an experienced portrait artist. As long as you have an interest in photography, you’ll find something inspiring to document.

It’s just a few days until Christmas, so we thought a quick tutorial on the topic of Christmas Photography might be appropriate and needed for our professional photographers who are excited about capturing all the fun, and joy of this season for their clients in the best possible way. This blog will help you with various Christmas photography ideas, challenges, and various unique and creative tips to capture the best of the celebration.

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Christmas Is a Good Time For Candid Family Portraits

  • Tip & Ideas

Christmas is family time. Families reunite, which of course gives great photography opportunities to professional photographers to capture mind-blowing posed and also candid family portraits. Whether you are a professional portrait photographer or not, taking candid family portraits during Christmas will be a fun and an exciting experience for you as a photographer. While photographing families during Christmas can indeed be full of awkwardness or time constraints, when everyone is too busy to pose for posed portraits, make sure you are not missing out on capturing candid family portraits. This way you will get to document many heartwarming moments of your client’s family in the best frames possible.

If your client chooses to have an indoor Christmas family shoot session, you can consider photographing using a higher ISO. A large aperture(e.g., f/1.4), will lend a pleasant background blur and allow more light into your camera lens. The larger the aperture, the easier it will be for you to take incredible high-quality professional candid family portraits in low light conditions. Just keep in mind that having a large aperture will give you a very soft focus, which means your captured shots won’t look very detailed but will look stunning and whimsical which your client will cherish for years to come.


  • Challenges

Doing a group family portrait session can be actually very challenging, especially when there are kids involved. And that is why it is always a great idea to go for a candid portrait session when it comes to group family portraits. Candid family portrait sessions are usually less stressful than posed photography sessions. In candid photography sessions, your subjects don’t need to look directly into your lens. Candid photography gives opportunities for photographers to capture their client’s genuine expressions and movements in great frames.

There are endless ways to master candid family portrait sessions. One of the basic things that being a professional photographer you should keep in mind while going for a candid Christmas family portrait session is to start documenting photos with autofocus. Just make sure that nothing is blocking your lens so that it eventually focuses on the right thing. If you want to get experimental and are up for a challenge, go with manual focus. The more you use it, the easier it will be to take pictures that are always sharp and clear.


Always Use Burst Mode To Capture the Happy and Cheerful Expressions

  • Tip & Ideas

This lovely festival is all about emotions and happiness. And being a professional photographer, endless professional pictures with beautiful emotions are what your client is expecting from you. As there is nothing better and more beautiful than witnessing the elation on a child’s face upon finding Santa during the night, leaving a stack of presents. Well, it’s Christmas, and Santa’s visit indeed plays a major role at Christmas time, especially with younger children, therefore capturing the true essence of celebration in the form of joy is essential for professional photographers.

But we also understand that capturing emotion is surely not a cakewalk. To capture the enthusiasm, excitement, and joy in someone’s eye when they unwrap a gift, or the love in a warm hug when a dear out-of-town friend or family member arrives indeed requires a lot of precision. So, to capture every moment and every in-between moment in the best frame, and also the vibe of Christmas in the best possible way is to set your camera for continuous shooting or fire away mode. Setting your camera on the bust mode, also known as continuous shooting mode will give you the time and opportunity to absorb every second. From the moment they wake up to the very last gift, you will be able to capture the glow and joy reflecting in your client and his/her family members’ faces. Their smiles will be nothing but very natural and your professional photographs will be timeless.


  • Challenges

With the Christmas decor and wrapping paper being flung around the room, you just have to be beware of the busy background. Just make sure that your eyes are just drawn to the main subject with nothing too distracting in the background which might make the photo look ugly.


Make Sure You Are Filling The Camera Frame

The next Christmas photography tip is to set the lovely and happening festive spirit in your professional shots. So, just get up close with your subjects in order to fill the frame to have an incredible professional festive photograph. One of the wonderful and also beautiful parts of Christmas is spending time with family and friends who are more than likely already comfortable being photographed by a professional photographer like you, so get experimental! This kind of photography idea will make your professional Christmas photographs stand out from the rest of the year, so always try to include some of the dashing and vibrant festival decorations in the background of your professional photographs.


Indoor Christmas Professional Portrait Lighting Tips

So, when you are doing Christmas photography, make sure you are capturing the true and magical essence of all the beautiful and warm glow created by lovely lights. After all, Christmas photographs are incomplete without the festival lights. So, lighting your scene correctly at Christmas can make a huge difference, especially if you are trying to emulate the magical atmosphere in the photographs that your client will cherish.

It is also very true that indoor lighting can get tricky with the warm Christmas lights. All you have to do is make sure that your white balance is set correctly for incredible and amazing white Christmas photography lighting.

Well, if we talk about photography language, then the higher your Kelvin number, the cooler your shots will appear. But, this composition will differ in every house as not everyone uses the same bulbs. If by chance the concept of white balance is still new to you, then you can consider working with your camera as the majority of cameras have useful presets that help balance out colors giving the best of lighting for professional portraits.

Here is a little Christmas photography tip if you are going in for an indoor photography session. For indoor lighting and to have the most amazing and effective setting, don’t keep your camera settings in auto mode, in fact, go for the tungsten setting. This mode in your camera will cool the warmth that household lighting tends to emit and will result in great Christmas photographs that your clients will love and cherish.


Do A Double Check For Your Christmas Photoshoot Kit

So, before you head out to shoot your client’s Christmas photographs in the most lovely and charismatic frames, do a double-check of your to-do list. Cross-check and make sure that everything is prepared before the big day. Not to forget to check whether your battery is charged or not, your memory card has ample storage for beautiful Christmas photographs, your settings are prepped, and lastly make sure you know where the best angle of view is in your client’s house for all those beautiful, perfect, and professional Christmas portraits. Before you actually start capturing the celebration and its vibes in the best of frames, take a few test shots to make sure that the lighting is right before the moment.


Capture The Beautiful and Yummy Baking or Cooking Process

Christmas is all about spending quality time with friends and family, so, if you want to document this special time in your client’s life, then you need to keep in account that you don’t need to only focus on people. Oftentimes, it is the title that makes the biggest impact on the photography portfolio (or on a Christmas photography card!).

And talking about the little things, the baking and cooking process during Christmas is indeed a great place to start capturing Christmas photos for your client as it is inevitable in most family gatherings. All you have to do is to get creative. Take artistic photos of food and the process that makes it so beautiful. Workaround different photography angles and layouts. You can consider taking pictures right above a table or from a very low angle for great and impactful Christmas photos. The best part of capturing the baking/cooking process is that it will help you improve your food photography skills, which is indeed a nice bonus for you as a professional photographer.


Make Sure Your Are Shooting in Aperture Priority Mode

Finally, our last Christmas photography tip is to make sure that the professional photography session offers a great enjoyable time to your client and also their family members. Being professional photographers, we also want you to enjoy the shoot day, but still get the best photographs possible which must leave your client wanting for more. Shooting Christmas portraits in aperture priority mode will allow you to take control over your depth whilst removing the headache of worrying about the shutter speed or ISO. Shooting in aperture priority mode will also give you easy adjustment options throughout the day for real quick transitions between candid portraits and close-ups of Christmas elements like the delicious food. Switching between wide and narrow apertures is simply at your fingertips.

For example, in a Christmas shot where the family is sitting around the table, you may consider narrowing the aperture (large F-number (F/8 – F/11)) to ensure everyone is featured clearly, whereas a bauble on the tree would require a wider aperture (small F-number (F/2.8)) for that stunningly out of focus, green backdrop.


Make the Best Use of the Daytime During Your Christmas Photography Session

Even the cities light up mesmerizingly and beautifully during the holiday day, especially if it is Christmas. Every corner of the city is lit up with beautiful festival lights. All the streets and stores are lit, the houses are decorated, and it’s beautiful to capture all of this in your professional Christmas photos. And just because of this, it is always easy to focus only on photographing after dawn and then forget about the rest of the day. Now the question is, when should a photographer take Christmas photos?

You can capture a lot of wonderful images with natural light. You can photograph people doing their shopping and the preparations during the day. Just make sure you avoid the harsh sun in order to have the best photographs. In the late afternoon and towards sunset you can have the best of both worlds; some natural light photos, and then you can take advantage of a blue hour to include some of the Christmas lights too. Then, of course, you should capture Christmas morning!


Winding everything up, all we want to say is that the Christmas holiday is a heavily photographed celebration, so as a photographer it is important to approach the subject with an eye for doing something different and compelling. Make sure you are utilizing the ornaments and the lights to spruce up the lovely background elements for your professional Christmas shots (you can also try experimenting with the bokeh technique for something actually very subtle different and unique), and focus on your subject’s eyes and work to position the family in intimate positions that emphasizes their close relationship and the joy this season instills in everyone.

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