ISO 200, F11 @ 2.5 sec., no flash

ISO 200, F6.3 @ .6 sec., no flash

Christmas is almost upon us!  Admist all the preparations for the holidays and dealing with the wintery weather outside, don’t overlook opportunties to make some wonderful holiday images – inside or out.  Get creative portrait shots of your family finding the perfect tree at the tree farm, having a snowball fight, decorating the tree or helping Mom make Christmas goodies.  Sneak around and get candid shots rather than posed shots – they will look much more natural.  Get right in their face using ultra wide angle lenses for some fun results. Shots like these will be treasured forever!  

Shoot macro shots of some of your favorite ornaments on the tree.  The Santa ornament here could almost be considered an “antique.”  It is part of a light cover set that was placed over individual lightbulbs on the tree, and has been in my family as long as I can remember. When I moved from my parents’ home, my mom let me have half the set for my own tree, and I lovingly place the Santas in prominent view every year. My entire tree has many ornaments that family and friends have given me over the years, and it’s so much fun for me to unpack them every year and think of that special person while decorating the tree.

ISO 200, F10 @ 1.3 sec., no flash


Use a tripod, higher ISO’s and wider apertures in order to avoid using a flash, which will cause harsh shadows. Of course, always check your histogram to make sure your exposure is correct.

ISO 200, F11 @ 2 sec., no flash


ISO 200, F16 @ 6 sec., no flash

Try shooting close-ups of bright holiday flowers such as poinsettias and amaryllis, boughs of holly, or sprigs of holly berries.

ISO 200, F16 @ 6 sec., no flash


For something more abstract, take out of focus shots of the twinkling lights on the tree. 

ISO 200, F11 @ .6 sec., no flash

Go outdoors and shoot the outdoor light displays – some folks get pretty elaborate with those!  The ideas are endless. Look beyond the simple posed family portrait in front of the Christmas tree.

I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!  A new decade of photographic opportunities awaits us!