When asked to write an article on how to take the perfect Christmas photo it got me thinking as to what actually equates to the perfect photo? Is it the perfect composition? The perfect lighting? For me Christmas is a time for family and it’s most definitely about living in the moment. I spend my time in the studio posing families and getting the perfect composition for their family portraits, but when it comes to spending time with family and friends it’s important to capture those memories and living in the moment and I do that shock horror by using the camera on my phone!
I know I’m a photographer and I should have my camera ready at all times, but the reality is I’m also a mum and a wife and at Christmas although I would love to be taking photos with my BIG camera, I’m also working, the chief present buyer, attending Christmas concerts and getting ready to open the doors to our friends and family over the festive period, so inevitably out comes my camera phone, capturing events as they unfold that I can then share instantly with everyone else, because lets face it, if it isn’t on social media, did it actually happen at all 🙂
We’re quickly heading toward the big day and photos of peoples Christmas trees are starting to appear on Facebook and Instagram, you’ve spent ages getting your tree to Monica Geller standards, you now need it to look insta ready. The same goes for the mulled wine boomarang ‘cheers’, the christmas markets and the light swith ons
So I’m going to give you a 6 useful tips on how to take the perfect photo in low light and capture the beautiful essence of Christmas.
- Capture the preparation stages
For me it all starts when the Christmas tree goes up. Time passes so quickly so I make sure that I photograph the kids putting the decorations on the tree, including the ones that they made in nursery! It’s all about traditions and making new memories. Get in nice and close and fill the frame.
2. Focus on The eyes
Our attention always goes towards the eyes in a photograph, they’re a natural focal point that we are drawn to. Again get in nice and close to your subject, filling the frame. For a better quality photograph trty not to zoom. Instead move to your subject, always ensuring that their eyes are in focus.
3. Taking the photo
It may seem logical to take the photo from the actual smartphones screen but it’s not always easy and most phones have an additional button on the side for taking photos, maybe use a little trial and error here, if it doesn’t look good taking it by pressing the button on the screen, using your body as a tripod use the other button.
4. Turn off the flash
Using flash in low light is a bit of a no, no, we want to try and capture that ambiance. Turn off the flash, focus your camera then keeping it steady take your picture. It’s also worth mentioning that if the lights are flashing your images maybe a bit blurry, if the lights are stationary they won’t blur.
5. Turn off the lights
The main lights in the room are going to be too harsh, instead try using the lamps in the room as a light source. We don’t want to over light the subject, we’re trying to soak up the atmosphere of those fairy lights.
6. Check your settings
Most smartphones now have different cameras settings. Try adjusting it to a manual/pro mode and again turn off the flash. The Pro camera system in most smartphones are used to boost settings like shutter speed, ISO, white balance, metering. With images taken in low light, the ISO must be kept in the range of 400 to 800, and the shutter speed is to be reduced by about 1/5 or 1secs. If you have very less light, it is better to keep the shutter speed up to about 1/20 or 1/15secs.
Ultimately, it’s all about knowing the camera on your phone, it’s capabilities, having fun and creating special memories!!
Merry Christmas To You All,