In many families, Christmas pictures are an overlooked part of the holiday celebration. While it's common for people to place a high importance on preparing attractive decorations, cooking delicious food, and purchasing meaningful gifts, there's no need to avoid preserving your precious holiday memories. With a little bit of effort, you can learn to take Christmas pictures that will become cherished family keepsakes.
Know Your Camera
Are you the type of person who hates to read instruction manuals? Unfortunately, it's hard to take great Christmas pictures if you don't understand how to work your camera. It doesn't matter whether you own a simple point-and-shoot digital camera or advanced 35mm film camera. If you don't understand how your equipment works, you'll end up with less than satisfactory pictures.
To take Christmas pictures that truly capture the holiday spirit, break out your camera's instruction manual and do some light reading over a nice cup of hot cocoa. For extra credit, take a few practice shots under similar lighting conditions.
Basic Photography Tips
If you don't feel confident in your photography skills, it can be difficult to take meaningful Christmas pictures. To make the process easier, remember the following basic photography tips:
- Before you snap the picture, check to make sure there aren't unwanted elements such as wires, poles, or strangers in your photo.
- When you're taking pictures of people in a group, avoid poses that resemble a straight line or a totem pole. Since the faces aren't close together, everyone will look uncomfortable in the final image.
- Use the red eye feature on your camera or ask your subject to look slightly to the left.
- Before taking pictures of children, check to make sure faces are clean, hair is in place, and collars are straight and buttoned.
- If you're taking a picture of a group that includes more than three people, snap at least three images. If you take only one shot, you're guaranteed to have at least one person who has his/her eyes closed or is looking away from the camera.
Ideas for Creative Christmas Pictures
Tired of looked at repetitive images? Consider the following ideas for your Christmas pictures:
- Your children looking for treasures in their stockings
- Your son wrapped in strings of Christmas lights
- Your daughter helping you bake Christmas cookies
- The family dressed in their best attire before attending a Christmas Eve worship service
- Everyone wearing their new Christmas pajamas
- Babies and toddlers surrounded by gift wrap and bows
- Small children sitting in large gift boxes
- Everyone sitting down to enjoy a traditional holiday meal
- Your neighbors visiting to wish you happy holidays
- Everyone in the family singing Christmas carols
- Your Christmas wreath hanging from the front door
- Special ornaments on your Christmas tree
- Shots of the family addressing Christmas cards
- Mom and Dad wrapping presents
- Classic winter scenes such as icicles sparkling as they hang from rooftops, smoke drifting from the chimney, and children celebrating the first snowfall of the season
Invest in Image Editing Software
If you're not happy with your Christmas pictures after the event, consider investing in basic image editing software such as Corel Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop Elements. These programs make it easy to adjust color balance, brightness, contrast, and other minor technical errors. You can even use these programs to correct red-eye or crop out unwanted details.While image editing software is most commonly associated with digital photography, even film fans can benefit from this valuable resource. Just ask your photo developer to give you a CD with scanned images of your prints.