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How to take better Christmas photos

There are so many ways to level up your Christmas photos, and most of them involve using things you probably already have in your home. From fairy lights and festive food, to matching outfits and making new traditions, pick your favourite Christmas photo shoot ideas and learn how to bring new life to all your festive snaps.

Make use of festive lighting

Lighting can really make or break a photo — it amps up the atmosphere and sets the scene. Capture the cosy Christmas vibes by making the most of the festive lighting we use around this time of year.

One option is to use firelight, whether that’s by lighting a few candles for a subtle warmth, or taking photos next to the fireplace. Since the flames and shadows constantly flicker, the lighting is never exactly the same in any picture, which makes for a more interesting range of photos.

Fairy lights and colourful Christmas tree lights are a great way to add dimension to a photo, especially when bokeh is used. If you’ve not heard of bokeh before, it’s a Japanese word to describe the soft, out-of-focus circles of colour and light you see in the background of photos.

You don’t need a professional camera to capture this — most modern smartphones will automatically blur smaller lights in the background and generate a similar effect.

Use the Christmas tree as a backdrop

If you’re wondering how to take Christmas photos, your Christmas tree is always the perfect backdrop for any photo. Whether your tree has perfectly matching ornaments in a set colour scheme or it looks like Christmas exploded all over your living room, setting it in the background of your photos automatically gives them a festive feel. If you only have a tiny tree, you could play with perspective by bringing it closer to the camera. And if you don’t have a tree at all, there are other options — you could add decorations to your houseplants, or drape lines of fairy lights from a high point to create a tree-esque shape. Make it meta by using your favourite snaps in front of the tree for a Personalised Christmas Bauble or Wooden Christmas Tree Decoration.

Dress up

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… to dress up in ridiculous matching pyjamas and take a family Christmas photo. The only thing that would make this wholesome photo shoot even better? A matching pyjama set for your pets too. And if you’re not in the mood for a full outfit overhaul, you can never go wrong with a Santa hat or reindeer antlers. The group photos you take would work great for Christmas cards.

Another fun option could be to prepare 12 looks for the 12 months of the year, which you could then use in a Personalised Wall Calendar. Think: beach Santa for summer, lovestruck Rudolph for February, elves dressed up for Halloween. The possibilities are endless.

Focus on the magic moments

So much of the joy of Christmas takes place before the big day, so don’t only focus your energy on taking photos on the 25th. Whether it’s decorating gingerbread houses, putting up the Christmas tree together or writing letters to Santa at the dining table, keep your phone or camera on hand in the lead-up so that you can capture the minor magic moments too.

Incorporate family traditions

Make sure you incorporate family traditions into your photos. You don’t have any yet? It’s never too late to start one. Maybe every year the younger members of the family are given a Christmas Eve box, or you all wear matching Christmas jumpers while you watch your favourite festive film. Whatever it is, make sure to capture the Christmas joy on camera.

Another fun tradition could be to take yearly photos of your whole family posing in the same spot in the house every year, and always in age order — this is especially fun as kids get older and you see the height dynamic change over the years.

Flash, on or off?

Natural lighting is almost always easier to work with than flash. The easiest type of weather to work in is slightly cloudy days where the sun isn’t blasting into your home and creating harsh shadows, but it’s not so cloudy that the house is super gloomy. Luckily, we get a lot of these bright grey days in the winter.

Even if you’re taking photos at night, it’s still not necessary to use the flash — stay close to light sources like your tree lights or candles, and as long as you keep your hand still, you should be able to get some clear photos. If your hand’s shaky, use a tripod — whether that’s a real tripod or setting your phone up on a pile of boxes and setting a timer.

Think about the end result

Now for the big question: what are you going to do with your photos afterwards? If you’ve gone to all this effort, you may as well display them in your home. It might be as simple as wanting to create a Christmas Photo Book with all your memories, or maybe you’ve just always wanted to be *that* family who sends out personalised Christmas cards every year. Whatever you choose, plan your photos accordingly.

Instead of letting your Christmas snaps sit in your phone’s photo album forevermore, transform your memories into something you can hold in your hands. Make a snow globe to bring out every year, an apron to accompany the Christmas dinner cooking, or pass the magic on with a personalised Christmas gift for your loved ones. It couldn’t be easier to do with Photobox.

Last modified: 4months ago

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