Take Great Christmas Photos ….

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and don’t get caught by the Baubles!

Today I am delighted to be joined by a guest blogger and photographer, Adam Monk from The Monastery Photography.  A father of 4 children, he can appreciate how hectic Christmas gets and so he is sharing with us some hints, tips and reminders about how to take better photos this Christmas and record all those lovely memories with your families.  So without further ado,  let me hand over to him:

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How many times have you gone to print pictures or upload to social media all those Christmas day pictures only to look at them and delete 90% of them?

Now, there are no rules for what pictures you should take over Christmas but it really does help to have some sort of plan in your mind as to what kind of results you want to get and what you will be using the pictures for.  As a father of 4 children Christmas in this house can be pretty well…. chaotic to say the least. However, it is sometimes within the chaos and carnage that the best pictures can be captured. Planning might sound like extra hassle but think how much better those images could be if you get them at the right moment (more on this later)

EQUIPMENT

I guess the first place to start is the equipment that you are going to use. I personally use both my camera phone and my Nikon camera also. The bigger cameras are great for the staged shots and those pictures of decorations and the plump fat turkey but when it comes to candid shots of kids playing with toys or pulling crackers or your nan drifting in and out of a drunken stupor then the phones really can be great. This is due to their accessibility and the discreetness of them.

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LIGHTING

Next thing to consider is the lighting. It’s impossible to get the kids to wait long enough for the sun to rise before they open their presents but if you can get them to wait then the extra sunlight can help. Try to minimise flash use where possible. The flash will wash out faces dim Christmas lights and cause unsightly shadows where you don’t want them. Turn a few extra lights on in the house add a few twinkly Christmas lights in an around your living room. Take pics by the Christmas tree or if you have the chance by some nice large windows. Phone cameras tend to be automatic but if you find the photos too dark have a look at your camera settings and adjust the ISO setting up to somewhere around 800 and this should adjust the lighting enough. Also remember if using the camera adjust the White Balance to tungsten/LED depending on your type of lights to allow for the interior lighting unless you are shooting in auto.

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PLANNING

Like I said earlier this might sound boring but it’s much easier to get pictures of  family members when they are sober as they arrive, rather than when they are totally sloshed later. Why not get those family pics taken early in the day as people arrive? Not only will this make it easier for you but your guests will feel better knowing that they can eat without worrying about getting gravy down their Christmas tacky jumper.

Go with your plan but make it flexible. You will know what pictures you want from the start so can get organised and have people in the right places. If you want shots of decorations and lights then why not do them on Christmas eve before the chaos ensues?

Dinner pics will be easier without 15 people around the table so try to take them first then call the family out.

Another part of planning is planning your setting and surroundings. Now with 4 kids I know full well the mess that can happen on Christmas day the best way to get around this on the big day is to use your zoom where possible this will eliminate the pile of empty boxes and the bin bags full of wrapping or the empty can of fizz on the arm of the sofa.

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CHRISTMAS ISN’T JUST ABOUT THE PRESENTS

As you walk around the house try and catch those candid shots…Mum pouring her fourth buck’s fizz of the morning…. little Jimmy having his melt down in the hall because he didn’t get the iPad he wanted…take a picture of the cream on the mince pie…. your images are only limited by your imagination really.

TECHNICAL

Great ways to catch some stunning pictures is to experiment with your cameras aperture. This will give you the option of playing with DOF (depth of field) what this means is it’s giving you selective focus. You can effectively blur the foreground or the background and this is particularly effective when you want the subject in front in focus, but the lights behind to be blurred (bokeh effect).

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EDITING

If you can do it then by all means do it. There are several APPS and programs out there that can help you get the best effects for your pictures. Apps on your phone are particularly great and watch out for the one where you can add Santa in your living room!

Have fun with them.

FINALLY

HAVE FUN. It is great to have great pictures but it’s not fun to be so regimented with it that you forget to enjoy yourself.

 

Thanks for those tips Adam!

Hopefully, this article has sparked your imagination and you’ve got some ideas on how you’d like your Christmas photography to go this year!

To help out a little more I’ve created a free printable to help you plan your own photos! Just click on the link below for your free download.

Christmas Photos Free Printable PDF

Print it out, fill it in and add it to your planners if you have one! I’ve started a few ideas off for you, but get specific – what do you want to capture this Christmas?

Share on social media with us if you’re using it and join in todays discussion on Facebook too. (links at top of the page)

If you’re looking for even more inspiration head on over to our special Christmas Photo Ideas pinterest board!

Don’t forget to check out Adam’s facebook page too!

https://www.facebook.com/TheMonasteryPhotography/

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