Christmas is a time for getting together with friends and family… making it the perfect opportunity to show them just how great a photographer you’ve become over the past year! In this quick guide we show you 5 killer Christmas picture ideas, along with tips on how to shoot them from the experts.
Christmas Picture Ideas: 01 Shoot pictures of Christmas lights
While the rest of your family is roasting in front of an open fire this festive season, why not hit the streets of the local neighbourhood after dark and capture pictures of houses brought to life with elaborate light shows?
Press photographer Matt Cardy took this shot of a house that regularly lights up for charity in Melksham, Wiltshire.
Houses with an excess of festive illuminations (115,000 bulbs, in this case) are certainly bright enough for handheld photography, if you’re prepared to push the ISO.
“I would say that exposures like this have become a lot easier since the low-light capabilities of SLR cameras have improved,” says Matt. “You can now confidently hand-hold, while still using apertures of f/4 and more to get a good depth of field.”
If you’re intending to try this type of photography, take a wide-angle lens. You’ll still get a good amount of the scene in focus even when you’re working at apertures of f/4 or f/5.6.
Increase the ISO until the shutter speed is the equivalent to 1/focal length (so 1/20 sec for a 20mm lens) or at a speed that you’re confident you can get sharp shots at.
Take a test shot and review the image, zooming in to check for sharpness. If it’s blurred, increase the ISO by 1/3 stop and try again.
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* Check the histogram after you’ve taken the first shot. You want a graph that’s near, but not touching, the right-hand edge.
* Shoot in raw: this will give you more scope for revealing shadow detail and reducing noise.
* If your camera has a highlight alert feature, switch this on. When you review an image, any potentially over-exposed areas will flash.
* Set the camera’s continuous drive mode and shoot short bursts of shots.
* If the illuminations are intermittent, time your shots to coincide with the best display. Failing that, use a camera-mounted tripod to shoot a sequence of frames, then combine them in Photoshop.
PAGE 1 – Christmas Picture Ideas: 01 Shoot pictures of Christmas lights
PAGE 2 – Christmas Picture Ideas: 02 Shoot Christmas tree baubles
PAGE 3 – Christmas Picture Ideas: 03 Shoot a candle-lit portrait
PAGE 4 – Christmas Picture Ideas: 04 Shoot pictures of seasonal food
PAGE 5 – Christmas Picture Ideas: 05 Shoot New Year’s celebrations
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