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How to take your Christmas photos #photography

You can take much better photos this Christmas with a little more understanding of how your camera works and by giving it a little more thought. You will probably be taking snaps of family and friends and so try to group them quite close together. You want them to be recognisable and so get close or zoom in fairly tight. One mistake I made this week was not making allowances for the smallest person in a group. Try to get the taller ones at the back and shorter people at the front. Then very small children should be held, so their faces are close to the same height as everyone else’s. Christmas photos are never easy to take and so think about it in advance and even practice a little.

Taking Christmas photos

Gareth Gates

This is a shot of Gareth Gates that I took at the Christmas Lights switch-on. Notice the background is blurred. I wanted the focus to be on him so I used a wide aperture. If you don’t know how to set the aperture then use the portrait setting. If you’re in low light like I was, use the flash. If you’re indoors then you will certainly need the flash. Don’t stand too close, try to zoom in and if there is a setting to prevent red-eye, use that. Cameras have focus points so try to get those on your subject because that will not only help the camera focus better but will also meter the light better.

Mobile phone

If you’re taking your pictures with a mobile phone then the aperture will be wide open, they are designed for portraits. Just remember to fill the frame and turn on the flash. Hold the phone very still, as well. My phone takes pictures by pressing the volume button on the side and that is better because you get less movement.

Christmas Photos with a DSLR

If you had a DSLR for Christmas and don’t know how to take portraits and family photos, here is a quick guide. There is a little button, usually on the front of the camera to switch on the flash so press that! Take off the lens hood when using the flash. Now you can set the ISO higher for the darker conditions, perhaps to ISO 400. Set the camera on A for aperture priority and then take a shot. Your shutter speed will come up at the bottom of your viewfinder. Use the viewfinder rather than live view, it keeps the camera steady and prevents camera shake. Your shutter speed should be 1/100 of a second or faster. Now you can get really sharp pictures with a blurred background.


Matrix focusing

Choose matrix focusing to take a photo of a group and maybe switch to spot focusing for individuals. The focus points on my camera look like little red dots and I get as many on as I can. With spot focusing, you just have one and get that on your subject. You might have a different style of focus points and you might have fewer of them or lots of them. They all work the same.

Have a great time taking your Christmas photos. Next week, I’ll be putting lots of pictures from the archive up and doing a special Christmas post. If you would like to follow my blog just enter your email address at the top of the sidebar or follow me on Twitter for updates. You can also find links on my Facebook page.

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