How to create a DIY Christmas photo studio setup from home

Christmas studio set up from home DIY
(Image credit: Beth Nicholls)

Christmas is the best time of year to take photos. Whether it's a portrait of a loved one, a festive shot of yourself wearing a cracker crown or a rare candid of the mysterious strange cousin (everyone has one), a Christmas photoshoot setup is the perfect way to encourage everyone to say cheese on the big day. 

• Read more: Photoshoot ideas for photographers  (opens in new tab)

Here's a rundown of useful hints, tips and tricks to get you started on creating a DIY Christmas studio setup from home.

1. Lights, camera, candles!

Getting late into the evening? Use a different light source with LED battery candles (or real ones) to create a Christmas ambiance. This can work nicely for cosy settings with a shot of a fireplace, pillows, blankets and matching pj's holding a mug of hot chocolate.

It depends entirely on the scene and backgrounds you have to work with for this effect to look right, but if done correctly you can add some warmth and comfort into what would otherwise be a dull family photo session. 

Best LED light panels (opens in new tab)

2. Drape those fairy lights!

Drape some various strips of fairy lights hanging downwards towards the floor – this could be over a backdrop, bedsheet or plain wall, with baubles clipped in various places on the lights for a festive waterfall effect. 

This setup is perfect for a quick and easy shoot with a little one or pet, can be extended into a floorspace for sitting shots and allows you to show off your favorite baubles outside of the Christmas tree.  

3. Save the wrapping paper!

The Christmas morning mess is the enemy of all mothers. Usually, you'd probably have a black bag at the ready to dispose of all the wrapping paper ripped to shreds from each present, unless you recycle for next year in which case, great job! Instead of binning leftover wrapping paper you can use this in creation of your Christmas setup. 

Simply gather up all of the paper – it doesn't matter if the patterns are different – and used it in multiple ways as backdrop flooring for little ones to grab when sat down, confetti in smaller pieces, a mosaic-style background when pieced together or to wrap up a relative mummy-style to add humour to family portraits. 

(Image credit: Beth Nicholls/Digital Camera World)
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4. Snow place like home

Using snow spray on mirrors and windows can create unique frosted portraits of your loved ones, and provide a photo opportunity for countless group mirror selfies when hosting your Christmas party. When shooting through a window, there are plenty of ways to utlize snow spray to create the desired photographic effect. 

Snow spray can be found at various retailers and supermarkets for a low cost, often bought with winter themed stencils, though you could easily make your own. This setup is extremely quick and easy but can produce great results when used creatively for dramatic portraiture. 

(Image credit: Beth Nicholls)
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5. Jingle bell gels

Using different colored  gels in front of the camera is a great way to create Christmassy light flares and festive color-combo portraits. If you have some color gels, try waving a sheet in front of your camera whilst snapping a portrait in continuous shooting to create interesting photos. You can also use two colors at the same time to create a split-color affect for a red and green vibe to add an element of Christmas to your basic studio setup. 

(Image credit: Beth Nicholls)
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Ho-ho-hopefully some of these tips have been useful, or at the very least inspired some of your own creative ideas for a festive DIY photography setup. Happy holidays! 

Read more:

Best photography lighting kits
(opens in new tab)How to build a photo booth (opens in new tab)
Photoshoot ideas? (opens in new tab)
Christmas picture ideas: Create a human Christmas tree! (opens in new tab)

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.