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How to Take Fantastically Festive Photos on Christmas Day

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After weeks of shopping, wrapping, decorating and merry-making, the big day is almost here. With your tree looking tip top, colourful presents all around, and the whole family in one place, Christmas Day offers the perfect opportunity to take some lovely photographs you’ll always treasure.

Here are some simple tips to help you take truly festive photos on the 25th and beyond. Because the easier it is to take lovely Christmas photos, the faster you can get on with enjoying the festivities!

Capture your Christmas tree, all merry and bright

If you’re feeling proud of your tree decorating skills and want to capture it on camera, lights and all, you’ll need to select the correct shutter speed.

A slower shutter speed will allow you to capture your fairy lights looking lovely. The slower the shutter speed, the longer the shutter remains open, so more movement is captured and more light let in – as this diagram demonstrates.

Shutter speed

For a bright, beautiful photo of your tree where the lights really stand out, choose a lower or slower shutter speed. You can see in the examples below the difference it can make.
Christmas tree shutter speed examples

A steady hand is another essential when taking a photo of your tree all lit up, so make sure you use a tripod or stand your camera on a flat surface.

Try your hand at Bokeh photography

Twinkly lights make Christmas the perfect time to try your hand at Bokeh photography. Bokeh is out of focus light; the little floating circles of light you see in blurred out backgrounds. The effect is very festive, and easier than you might think to achieve – whether you’re using a DSLR or smartphone. For a simple beginner’s guide to Bokeh, take a look at our Bokeh photography tips.

Bokeh Christmas tree and gift

Get a group photo whilst you’re all together

Christmas might be one of the few times when the whole family are together, so it’s the perfect chance to take a family photo. Make sure you don’t miss out on being in the picture by using the timer function or a remote shutter to take your photo from in front of the camera. That tripod you used to take your Christmas tree photo will come in handy again here too.

Check out our blog post of group photography tips for more tricks to help you capture that festive family snap.

Christmas family portrait

Take candid shots of the festivities

If you have some camera shy little ones (or grown ups!) then it might be tricky to get everyone to pose happily for a family photo. Instead, take candid pictures which will look more natural and informal.

Wait until the kids are busy playing with their new toys or the afternoon board games are in full swing before you take your photos, and hopefully the camera shy folks will be too busy having fun to notice the camera.

Little boy opening Christmas present

To take a series of snaps in quick succession, set your camera to burst mode or continuous shooting mode. You can use burst mode on your smartphone too; on most models you simply press and hold the shutter button to activate it.

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