Exploring Photography: Christmas photography – The Outdoors

It’s December, the festive lights are on, mince pies are at the forefront of your local supermarket and you’re probably wrapped up in your cosy Christmas jumper – It’s time for a Christmas takeover for our coveted Exploring Photography series.
For photographers, Christmastime is the most exciting and energetic time to capture the essence of the festive season. From the truly captivating and imaginative Christmas lights to a festive spirit instilled in communities, natural elements of the outdoors have never looked so appealing through the lens.

The chill of a winter breeze brings a shiver down your spine, but it also adds a certain purity to the air, even the light usually has a different quality to it. Families up and down the country decorate their houses with intricate lighting and prop arrangements providing excellent backdrops for photos. Snow is a definite bonus over the festive months; the whiteness at night elevates the overall light level (sort of like an environmental reflector). To achieve spectacular shots you’ll want to use long shutter speeds – below 1/15.

If you want to provide depth behind already switched on lights, the optimum time is the late afternoon, known as the ‘magic hour’, just before dusk, this can make for a highly desirable effect on your photos. Some important tips to consider when shooting in a whimsical Christmas light is you should always fill your frame with everything interesting and noteworthy that you can possibly fit in, never leave most of your picture wanting a subject.

The sky is an important part of getting in more light, it makes the composition appear more striking and sets off Christmas lights in a magical way. Layers of expressive clouds create a certain mood to a frame but you need to be patient with it because you don’t want the sky to steal the show. Trees, lampposts, building and various other landmarks may also improve the composition of your pictures.

Set your camera to..

Shutter speed 4/1 Aperture f/16 ISO Speed: 200 flash: Not fired

Exploring Photography | Christmas - The Outdoors

Exploring Photography | Christmas - The Outdoors 2

Exploring Photography | Christmas - The Outdoors 3

For more information on shooting at Christmas, visit the Exposure Guide. Next week we look at Christmas Lights and ornaments in a more detailed way.