Tis the season for taking pictures! From twinkling lights to tall Christmas trees to flickering candles on the Menorah, the holidays are bursting with precious photo opportunities. Most importantly, the holidays are also full of  priceless candid moments when friends and family gather.  And, to capture all of these memories, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Tips for Capturing the Holiday Season

tips for capturing the holidays

1. Always, always have your camera. This seems like a no brainer, right? But I am guilty of breaking this rule myself. There are times when I go to grab my camera and realize it’s not there! This year, I promised myself {and my family who usually end up yelling at me} to always have my camera with me!

2. Take pictures at night. If you are visiting an outdoor light display or just want to capture the lights on your house, the best time of day to do this is just after twilight. Achieving proper exposure can be somewhat of a challenge at night. You want to make sure you turn off your flash or use the “night” scene mode if you aren’t comfortable with Manual Mode. Some cameras even have a fireworks scene mode that would work perfectly for capturing holiday lights.

tips for capturing the holiday season

3. Capture candlelight. Trying to capture candlelight can be tricky! When shooting lit candles, make sure you, again, turn off your flash and try getting a tight shot of the candles. When taking a picture of someone lighting candles, you will probably need to back up and use some fill flash. Candlelight is the most beautiful lighting you could ask for. Make sure you take advantage of the light illuminating the person while they are lighting the candles.

4. Catch the twinkles. One of my favorite things to catch on my tree are the twinkling lights. To capture starbursts, you need to use a long shutter speed of at least 1/20 sec. And, since you need a long shutter speed, you must stabilize your camera or you will have camera shake. A tripod comes in handy when doing this. You also want to use a larger aperture of at least f/ 16. I like to keep my ISO low {100} but you can up your ISO based on how much light is available to you.

tips for capturing the holiday season

5. Don’t forget about the bokeh! Last year, I shared with you how to capture Christmas Tree bokeh. I love taking these pictures and wanted to figure out how to copy that with my cell phone. Now that I know the trick, I am passing it on to you!

Christmas Tree Bokeh with Your Cellphone

christmas tree bokeh with cellphone

Want to know the trick? It’s so simple! Instead of focusing on the tree, put your finger in front of the lens {or use any other object}. Have your cellphone focus on your finger.

how to take christmas tree bokeh with your cellphone

Voila…Christmas Tree Bokeh! You could use this with any light source to create any bokeh your little heart desires.

Your challenge this week is to capture the holidays! I can’t wait to see how everyone celebrates so make sure you share your photographs on the Facebook page.


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