How to capture the perfect Christmas season

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rom sparkling lights to hot cocoa by the fire, the picture-perfect Christmas is what many people are longing for. Having a picture-perfect Christmas season is one thing, capturing it is a whole other ball game. You want to preserve those memories but the twinkling lights turn into blurry blobs and your cozy cocoa by the fire picture turns into a washed-out mess. Sound familiar?

Well, this is your year. Not only to have picture-perfect plans, but to be able to share perfect pictures with those you love. Here are the top four picture taking tips that will make all the herald angels sing about your Christmas photos.

1. Lose the Flash
This may be the number one way to ruin your cozy pictures this season. Using a flash, inside or outside adds a cold, washed out look to pictures. You may be thinking, “yeah but what if it’s dark and we can’t see anyone’s faces in the picture?” Well there’s a couple of solutions to that. First, find someone else that has a smart phone, have them stand behind you and shine their flashlight on whatever subject you’re shooting. This may take some trial and error but adding a cell phone back light is a great way to add a softer glow to a photo.

2. Capture Candids
Now this may seem like a contradiction. Don’t perfect pictures need to have perfect smiles and perfect placement? The answer is NO. Candid photos of kids with messy hair opening presents or sneaking a picture of Grandma and Grandpa holding hands while enjoying the grandkids will mean much more than any perfectly symmetrical, posed photo. Be ready to take a lot of pictures to capture the perfect candids, you never know when your Instagram moments will pop up. Look for the magic opportunities to capture the pure, spontaneous joy of the holidays.


3. Try HDR Mode
Some of the most beautiful holiday pictures you can take are of bright Christmas lights twinkling in the night. Using a flash makes the lights disappear and sometimes using a back light ruins the feel. Your phone has a secret weapon you probably don’t even know about. Turning on your HDR (High Dynamic Range) setting allows your phone to take multiple photos at different exposures and then puts them all together to get the most balanced light/shadows. Check out these two photos- the one on the right is with HDR, the one on the left is without. What a difference! These places were equally lit- so it’s time to bust out the HDR and capture all the twinkle lights.

non HDR mode
HRD mode


4. Get on the Grid
The rule of thirds is a simple rule that makes a huge difference in photos. The goal is to get the center of your subject on one of the intersections of a 3X3 grid. (see photo below) Centering the focus on one of the grid intersections gives your photos great balance and makes them more esthetically pleasing. For those of you with the iPhone 7 or above- using the rule of thirds with your portrait effect will send your photos right over the top! To turn the grid on your camera, check out your phone’s camera settings and get on the grid!

These simple tips/tricks will bring your holiday photos to the top of everyone’s favorite list this year. Creating your picture-perfect Christmas can now be accompanied by perfect pictures to preserve those memories for generations to come.

Written by Sarah Matheson


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