Give your photos a festive makeover

The Christmas festivities are almost in full swing; the seasonal tunes are trickling their way onto the radio, the mince pies are a daily occurrence, and our Christmas trees are soon to be pride of place in our living room. So, that means only one thing. It’s time to start snapping all things Christmas!

We’ve asked USB 4 Photographers to share their top tips for giving your photos a sprinkle of magic over the Christmas period, with some advice on the perfect scenes to capture and how to get the best shot.

Putting up the Tree

Nothing screams the start of the festive season like putting the Christmas tree up and decorating the rest of your home in seasonal attire. The classic ‘putting the star on the top of the tree’ photo, is something you simply must capture. You could also snap little ones adding their favourite decorations to the tree, or get your pet (more on these later) to pose in front of the tree once the decorating has been completed.

Taking photos in low light can be tricky, especially when you want the fairy lights to take centre stage. Try to avoid flash where possible – natural light is always best anyway – and up the ISO to increase shutter speeds to allow more light in the frame.

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Involve the Kids

If you’re struggling to feel the festive spirit, then enlisting your children in the photo festivities will banish any Scrooge-like feelings you may be experiencing. Grab some tinsel, Christmassy attire (Santa hats, reindeer ears etc) and allow them to run wild all while you snap the magic!

…And Pets

There is nothing funnier – or cuter – than a dressed-up pet. The hard part is getting them to pose for a photo, but a handful of treats will probably do the trick in getting them to sit still so that you can capture your shot.

Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf is a phenomenon which only seems to get bigger each year. If you’re not up to speed then it essentially involves a toy elf (or another festive ornament) being photographer in a range of festive scenarios. Helping to decorate the tree, make mince pies, eating Christmas chocolate, wrapping presents – the list is endless as to the scenes you could photograph your elf in.

Photobooth Props

Nothing helps your camera shy subjects like a prop. Giving them something to hold and have a little fun with can instantly make them feel more at ease, giving you some great natural shots to capture.

Most high-street shops stock props you can purchase. However you can always grab some Christmas decorations or post with your elf!

Present Opening

Capturing the moment your children realise Santa has been will create one memorable photo. Taking photos in burst mode will allow you to photograph their expressions as they head downstairs and unwrap their presents under the tree. If you want to enjoy the fun (rather than be stuck behind the camera) then you could pop your camera on a tripod and set it up to take photos every few seconds automatically.

Christmas Foods

We all like to take photos of our food before we eat it these days, and with a ton of Christmas delights on offer they make the perfect photo to capture. After all, if it didn’t go on Instagram, did you even eat it?

If you want to take a photo of your Christmas table, then a wide-angle shot will work best so that you can include all the delicious dishes. If you want to really set the festive scene, then take the time to consider your background in the photo – an artfully laid table can make your feast look even more appetising.

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Get Outdoors

Just because Christmas is the period of hibernation, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get out into the great outdoors. If you’re a fan of the Boxing Day walk, this can be a great time to photograph the scenic landscapes you pass. Frosty mornings also make for wonderfully Christmassy shots too – they just may require an early start.

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