Five Tips for Better Holiday Photos

Taking photos during the holidays is a time-honoured tradition but many of us use the same techniques year after year. This year, try to tell the story of the holiday season by changing things up with these five tips for better holiday photos.

Go Outdoors

This time of year, we tend to stay indoors where we can get cozy and warm by the fire or under a blanket. However, going outdoors can offer an endless number of stunning photo opportunities. Whether you live in a part of the country where Jack Frost has given you a beautiful white canvas on which to compose your photos or you’re on the West Coast where moody skies make for an eye catching backdrop, it’s worthwhile to take your photo sessions outdoors. Being outdoors has the added benefit of giving you better light, which can be a real challenge during the winter.

Capture Candid Photos

There are so many beautiful candid moments this time of year and they make for great photos that really tell the story of the season. Look for moments of surprise or joy and capture the relationships between people. These moments are best captured when your subjects are wrapped up in the moment and aren’t paying attention to the fact that you’re wielding a camera. For the best candid shots, try to blend into the surroundings and take in the moments as you shoot.

Understand Your Camera

As the saying goes, ‘the best camera is the one that’s with you.’ Whether you’re using your smartphone to take photos or have a point and shoot or DSLR, you can capture some beautiful photos over the holiday season. The key to getting the most out the camera you have is to understand how it works and how to use its settings to get the best shots. For example, a lot of smartphones have portrait modes that give you the ability to isolate your subject using a shallow depth of field. Burst mode, found on smartphones and many cameras, allows you to take a ‘burst’ of consecutive photos, which makes it ideal for those group shots where it can be tricky to get everyone posed just right.

Try A Unique Perspective

It’s natural to take photos of family and friends this time of year but there are many other details that make the holiday season special. Tell the whole story of the holidays by capturing those details. Focus on decorations and moments of preparation, like holiday baking and wrapping gifts. Bring these things to life by shooting them from a new perspective. For example, make a small but visually interesting holiday ornament the subject of your photo by shooting it up close with the rest of the room in softer focus in the background. Use a top down perspective to shoot a holiday spread or the process of preparing holiday treats. The possibilities are endless with a little bit of creativity and experimentation.

Learn Basic Composition

Photo composition refers to the way all the individual subjects within a photo come together to make a final image. A little bit of skill when it comes to composing photos can take your photos from average to outstanding so it’s worthwhile to learn basic composition. Start by learning how to incorporate a few basic compositional tools, like the rule of thirds, leading lines, textures, and framing, into your photos. Just remember to use these tools in a mindful manner instead of all at once.

By Mike Agerbo

December 06, 2019