It can sometimes be challenging to find the best subjects to shoot when you first get a new lens or camera, in order to test the full scope of its capabilities. So here are 12 festive prompts to get your imagination flowing and your photographer's eye back to work whilst experimenting with your new device.
All these ideas can be taken literally or open to your own creative interpretations. Be sure to show us the outcomes by commenting on our DCW social channels, and share your images with other photographers who followed the same prompts as you, to discuss the different (or maybe similar) images produced.
1. Shallow depth of field
Let's start with something easy; shallow depth of field refers to an image with only a small section or only the subject in focus, with the background and sometimes foreground blurred. These shots can look great when in outdoor and macro contexts or when shooting smaller objects in particular.
2. Not human
Not human is a prompt that's intentionally pretty vague. Go shoot something that isn't a human, it could be an object, an animal or maybe even an alien.(opens in new tab)
Shoot something shiny! Try and find a subject that has elements of reflection, whether that's a literal mirror selfie or something more interpretative.(opens in new tab)
4. Frame within a frame
Frame within a frame can be a tricky one to interpret, but this Christmassy window display sums it up nicely. These animatronics were wrestling each other over a cracker – don't forget you can shoot video as well as stills.(opens in new tab)
Everybody loves bokeh! Creative blur is a great way to add atmosphere, and here's more than one example of some pretty Christmas bokeh.
6. Group Shot
The idea of a group shot is another prompt that can be creatively explored. My interpretation is a group shot of this adorable little snowman family perching on a chocolate log. Admittedly this shot is very over-saturated with warmer tones but when color-corrected, the shot just didn't have the same feel to it.(opens in new tab)
Shoot a festive beverage of your choice. This image features a hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate flakes on top, my absolute favourite hot drink. Get creative with your Christmassy coffees, make yourself a creamy liqueur or shoot some mulled wine.(opens in new tab)
"Happy" is a broad prompt. This image makes me think of happier childhood memories of riding a carousel at a fairground. Happy to you might be a loved one, a movie, a place or a memory. Either way, dig deep and photograph what makes you happy.(opens in new tab)
9. Complementary colors
'Complementary colors' is a great prompt to get your photographer's eye working hard and scouring for interesting scenes. My vinyl record collection is something I treasure, especially ones that have split colors and splatter patterns.(opens in new tab)
10. Leading lines
Leading lines means look for patterns in everyday scenery. This shot of my ukulele inspired the leading lines prompt – images with a path to follow can be extremely interesting and creative.(opens in new tab)
11. Negative space
Negative space has several interpretations, and negative space is used in photography to surround the main subject with unoccupied space that is there to help define and spotlight your subject.(opens in new tab)
My interpretation of 2022 is this owl. I received this two years ago as a graduation present from a relative and it sits on my shelf reminding me of what I have achieved (and the student debt i owe). Next year, in 2022, I should finally be able to attend an actual graduation ceremony to celebrate with my friends and make up for lost time over the periods of the pandemic and lockdowns.(opens in new tab)
· Read more:
What is bokeh? (opens in new tab)
Best lenses for bokeh (opens in new tab)
Christmas picture ideas: Create a human Christmas tree! (opens in new tab)
How to make your very own photo snow globe (opens in new tab)