10 Tips for Photographing Christmas Morning

Christmas morning can be a really hard time to photograph. There’s usually a flurry of activity Less than optimal lighting plus, of course, you’re trying to be involved in the day, too So today I have 10 tips for you covering everything from camera settings to lighting to practical advice That’s going to help you create awesome memories of your Christmas morning Now if you’re new here My name is Audrey Ann and I teach you the ins and outs of your camera So you can beautifully capture your children your family and the world around you be sure to hit that subscribe button And you’ll get notified every time we release a new video, which is every single week But for now, let’s dive into our 10 tips for capturing Christmas morning So the first tip I have for you is to make like a boy scout and be prepared You want to make sure that you have Your battery fully charged if you have a spare battery that that’s really charged as well You have your memory card cleared of all photos and ready to go again If you have a spare card have that cleared and ready to go – I also like just make sure that I’ve got the right lens on my camera that I’m going to use that day That it’s cleaned and ready to go and I also have my camera set with the ball park camera settings I think I’m going to need in the morning that way in the morning All I actually have to do is grab my camera and start shooting Because I’ve pretty much got everything prepared The night before the second tip I have for you is to make sure that you’re using a wider angle lens That’s one with a sort of shorter focal length. So something like 35 millimeter or even a 24 millimeter on a full-frame camera is Ideal, it’s just gonna allow you to capture more in the frame and you generally want that with this kind of lifestyle shots you want to add Context by keeping in more of the surroundings You’re probably going to want to capture more than one person in the frame at any one time as well It’s also just easier you can then just quite easily crop in a little bit if you want to tighten up this shot So I always tend to use Wider angle lens and for me, that’s my Sigma 35 millimeter I’ll link to that in the description below If you have a crop frame then something like a 24 millimeter is probably going to be ideal for you Tip number three is to hike up your ISO number if you need to now I know what many people are scared of using higher ISO numbers, especially if you’re using a crop frame camera but it’s far better to use a higher ISO number and then just deal with the noise and Processing that it is to try and keep your ISO as low as possible and you end up with having subjects blurry because you’ve used too slow a shutter speed or you haven’t had enough depth of field to get everything you want in focus also don’t be tempted to use a lower ISO than you need and Underexposed and then try and bring that up in Editing you’re just going to end up with even more noise So life style images like this don’t have to be absolutely perfect Don’t be scared of using that higher ISO if you need to I’d much rather Risk a little bit of noise in the image than have one That is out of focus. Now. We also have a video on dealing with noise and grain in your images I’ll link to that below in the description underneath this video so to give that one a watch that’s going to be Really good for you. If you are intending taking photos on Christmas morning when it’s still a little bit dark Now tip number four is to shoot in Manual mode that’s going to give you the control over your aperture shutter speed and ISO settings that you need to take images and Usually what is kind of tricky lighting you’ve usually got slightly darker outside. Then you want less natural light coming in You’ve usually got artificial lights and lights from the trees. It can be a really tricky time to photograph So make sure that you’re shooting in manual if you possibly can you’re not yet sure about shooting in manual mode What settings you might want to use then? Be sure to download the manual mode cheat sheet we have for you It’s completely free you can grab it There’s a link underneath this video to it go and get your copy. So you’re ready for shooting on Christmas morning So it’s still on camera settings tip number five is to watch your shutter speed and make sure that it doesn’t drop too low Now if you are still on auto mode or aperture priority mode You’ll find that your camera very frequently gives you two slow shutter speed It has an absolute minimum make sure that your shutter speed. Is it over 1/125 as a minimum if you’re photographing a Person if you’re photographing a child, then you’re going to want to double that at least 1/250 so do make sure as I said before if you’re shooting in manual mode You’ll get full control over the shutter speed that you use if you’re still an aperture Priority mode then try and let more lighting through your other settings Just to make sure that your shutter speed nice and high so you don’t get motion blur in your images tip number six is to make sure that you turn off your pop-up flash That just gives a really snap shotty look to your image. It tends to give redeye in your subject it washes them out and It takes away the kind of mood and the ambience in the room if you have the room nicely lit by lamps and some Christmas lights you’re just Gonna ruin that with that blast of harsh light from your pop-up flash So try and let light in via your other settings I’ll be giving you some tips for lighting in just a moment but trying maximize the light possible use your camera settings to maximize that light rather than resorting to pop-up flash if you absolutely Absolutely, absolutely Must then use a diffuser to soften the light in some way that’s going to give you far better results than just kind of Flashing all that light straight onto a person It’s just gonna like snapshot, wash them out and give them that dreaded red eye Tip number seven is to make sure that you use natural light if at all possible so if you are in an area of the world where you have Daylight at the time you’re getting up on Christmas morning great use that if at all possible so what I would do is make sure that you have Where the activity is going to be taking place. For example, you’re opening presents have them do that in front of a window there’s lots of nice natural light coming in and set yourself up so that the light is Behind you the photographer’s you have the window behind you Natural light coming in and that’s hitting your subjects now But it’s going to give you flat light which we don’t generally recommend for things like portraits. But remember we’re capturing Christmas morning here We’re not going for award-winning photography If you can get light onto your subjects and that allows them to move around in this even light you don’t have to worry Too much about it. That’s going to make your life a lot easier Now if like me, it’s absolutely pitch dark by the time you’re getting up on Christmas morning. You have no choice but to use artificial lights so what I would recommend that you do here is not use overhead lights if you Can avoid it rather turn on lots of different lamps in the room that’s going to give you softer lighting And it’s going to be much more flattering and give you a much warmer kind of feeling and mood Than having lights come down on your subject really unflattering to have lights come from above Plus is just not going to give you that kind of warm feeling that you can’t want from your Christmas morning photos But if you have one, it’s also that ideal time to crack out the speed light. I very rarely use on-camera flash at all So a speed light is ideal If you’re going to do this It means you can bounce the flash away from your subject and it’s one of the few times of year that I’ll actually dig out My speed light and use it tip number eight is to make sure that you set a custom white balance Now this is especially true if you are using lots of lamps, like we just said you’re using artificial light as opposed to Natural light because your camera will frequently get that wrong So you can set your own custom white balance either using a gray card or you can use something like an expodisc We actually have a video on how to use an expodisc a link to that again in the description underneath This video. At the very least if you don’t have a white balance tool or You’re not sure how to use one Then at least use the custom settings in your white balance menu, and if you’re using lamps You’re gonna use the tungsten Setting that’s going to get rid of that kind of nasty yellow color cast that you might get when using auto white balance Now we did speak there about using that wider angle lens so we could get more into the shot but tip number nine is to actually get close and capture some of the details here you can use a wider aperture, a larger aperture, that smaller F number and you can blur out some of the background and focus more on the details that you’re trying to Photograph that could be you know, the expression on your child’s face It could be the present that they are opening little details so once you have some of the wider shots of the scene get in close and capture some of those smaller details as well and Finally tip number ten is to make sure that you get in the frame, too And this is so important for Christmas day. You don’t just want to be a bystander The one taking photos not really being part of the day. I want you to be in there too. I recommend that you use a tripod and an interval timer now an interval timer looks Like this and what you can do is you can set this to take a set number of photos over a set period of time so for example You could actually have this set to take a photo Every five seconds every ten seconds over a thirty minute period and then you can just set your camera onto the tripod have this attached to your camera and it’s gonna fire off a Random shot every 10 seconds for that thirty minutes or whatever you have that set for it And that means you can be in the frame interacting with the people in the frame enjoying your Christmas morning and your camera is Taking care of taking the photographs for you Now, of course, they’re not going to be absolutely ideal doing it this way. You could have people blinking at the wrong time And so on but I love that half note. You’re gonna get a couple of good shots With you in the frame and most importantly you are going to be enjoying the morning now I’m gonna link to this below this interval meter You can pick one up for I think that under $20 or around that price You can also use something just like the remote timer and you can just have that set So you can just press your remote timer and fire that off and you can sometimes set on your camera some off this Interval functions as well depending on your camera model But this interval timer is one of the best buys I’ve ever had in photography I do recommend that you pick one up now I do want to know if you’re going to try that last one if you’re going to set up a tripod and the interval timer And get in the frame I’d love to know if you’re gonna try that and I really hope that you are so if you are Let me know in the comments below now. There won’t actually be a video next week because it’s going to be Christmas so we’re taking a little bit of time off what we’ll be back in the new year with a load of new videos that we have plans to make sure that you subscribe So that’s it for me for today I hope you have a fantastic Christmas and a wonderful new year and I will see you again in 2020. Thanks so much for watching and for being here and I’ll see you next year. Bye for now

Comments 4

  • Great tips Audrey! There were a few questions that i was wondering about for Christmas morning and you have answered them. Thank you so much.

  • Great video, as usual, unfortunately just me and hubby at home this year, boys both on overseas adventures. Waiting for them to produce some grandchildren for me lol

  • Thanks for the video! I looked at my cameras user manual and It has Interval Timer Shooting already as an option! I'm going to give it a try! I have a d750

  • I love your videos! So helpful and clear and practical. I am never in the family photos, as I'm the one behind the camera. For many years, I was OK with that. I felt totally unphotogenic anyway. But when I did some dabbling in scrapbooking, I realized that I didn't "exist" in the family photos. It was Daddy holding babies, Grandparents giving a Christmas gift, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends…but no Mommy. That is sad. So I'm really excited to try the remote timer. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

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