Did you receive a new camera as a Christmas gift, or perhaps a present of a new lens which you’d been hoping for? One of the best ways to get to know your new camera kit is to start using it – which is great if you are itching to get going!
Check the manual or instructions and make sure you are basically set up with charged batteries and any other camera necessaries, then have a look at these 5 photography ideas:
- Photograph the Christmas lights – they will be up into the New Year so grab the opportunity to take some interesting photos. There is a really good guide on How To Photography Christmas Lights by the Strobist which I would recommend you read before setting out.
- Take photos of the full moon on Christmas Day if you have clear skies. You may be surprised to find that shorter exposures for the moon are required so you do not end up with an over-exposed white blob. Planning is often the key to getting a great shot – but practicing makes perfect so have a go even if you haven’t yet worked out where your perfect moon photography location will be. Have a read of Popular Photography’s article on How to Photograph the Moon before you set out to make sure you are not trying to work out your settings in the dark for the first time.
- Create a still life with a Christmas theme. Take a photo of a selection of gifts, or use some decorations. There is of course always the food to photograph, perhaps with a few items from the table setting. Don’t clutter up your photo though – try to keep it relatively simple and use natural light where possible to light your food images, or perhaps add some table candles. There is a lovely blog called A Beautiful Mess and they have a brilliantly informative set of Tips for Using Natural Light in Still Life Photography – no flash lights or studio lights required, just natural light and a handful of pieces of card and props. This is an excellent place to start and you may find you enjoy this so much that you do much more still life photography in 2016.
- Long exposure photos can be fun too – why not try a bit of light painting? You can do this indoors in a darkened room, or venture outdoors during a dry evening. Using torches of different colours or types will give great results. Why not try a few Christmas themed light paintings (“is that Rudolf we can see in the sky?”), or make your New Year message for your social media pages? This is a great thing to do with other members of the family involved – children will love making patterns, shapes and spelling out their names while you practice your long exposure settings. I can heartily recommend the blog post by Wex Photographic, Painting with Light and Long Exposures. There’s more planning to do in advance on some of the ideas than others but they have a good selection of indoor and outdoor suggestions which are quite simple – and fun – to try. Long exposure photography can be very satisfying and you can get very creative with your photographic ideas .
- We can’t finish a list of Christmas photo ideas without including one for the people in your life – family, friends, even get the dog involved with this one. The idea is simple – set up your own DIY Photo Booth for your family and friends. People may not be quite so excited about your new camera as you are and can quickly get quite tired of having a camera pointed at them over Christmas. So preferably before they run out of patience, set up a DIY photo area when they can come to you for fun photos – when they want to. Place a chair or other seat with a good background, and perhaps put some fun props for them to help them selves to for the photos – hats, scarves, the mustache out of the Christmas cracker (yes, everyone gets one of those!), reindeer antler headbands, and the Christmas jumpers too of course. Practice taking some relaxed, fun photos without too much direction from you – just let your ‘models’ enjoy themselves and you will have a record of Christmas which everyone will enjoy. If you go to a party over the holidays, perhaps consider offering to set up a photo area there too and share the photos you take with your friends so everyone can remember the happy times you had. There are a whole host of ideas for photo booth pics on Pinterest – have a look and see if this idea is worth having a go with. It’ll be fun trying anyway!
To finish, I just want to add a couple of tips to make your Christmas photos look fabulous.
- Make sure you have a real point of focus for your photos – literally. Pick just one subject and make your image just about that one subject by framing carefully. It is really easy for your subject to become lost in the busy Christmas backgrounds and surroundings.
- With the first point in mind, fill your frame. Get close to your main subject where possible or use a zoom lens and really fill up your image with your main subject. This way your subject will be the star of your photo.
Enjoy getting to know your new camera and learning how to take the best photographs you can with it.