Each December my street transforms into a spectacle of Christmas lights so, despite my mixed feeling about Christmas (why must it happen so often?), it’s difficult not to get swept up in the twinkly wonderland and parade of joyful faces outside my window.
Whether you love or loathe Christmas, with colourful lights and sparkly ornaments practically begging for your attention, it is undeniably filled with photographic opportunities for creative exploration. Here are a few of my favourite things to photograph in the season to be jolly.
Christmas lights make a fantastic light painting tool when moved during long exposures. Pop your camera on a tripod and wave your lights up and down, spin them, or shake them about.
Pans and zooms
If you’ve already hung your Christmas lights you can experiment by panning your camera or zooming your lens during long exposures to liven up your Christmas scenes.
Bokeh images are wonderful to use as textures or backgrounds. Use a wide aperture and manually defocus your lens to capture abstract bokeh images.
By holding a stencil in front of your lens and using a wide aperture you can transform points of light into fun shapes.
Light trails are usually created by photographing moving vehicles with long exposures, but try securing your camera inside a car and driving around well-lit streets to capture Christmas lights as they blur past.
Christmas light portraits (outdoors)
Christmas lights can be tricky to photograph as there’s a fine line between too dark and blown out and if the lights are different colours and brightness it’s a difficult feat to balance the exposure. But, all is not lost with a willing subject and a flash you can create beautiful portraits surrounded by colourful lights.
Christmas light portraits (indoors)
Bundle up some Christmas lights for creative indoor portraits. You can hold them, lie on them or hang them around the subject.
With the vast array of beautiful ornaments in the world you certainly won’t have difficulty finding interesting subjects. However, there’s not a whole lot of use for hanging ornament pictures. I like to create little scenes that I can sell as stock or use in composites, while flexing my creative storytelling powers.
Christmas themed flatlays are easy to create and make fantastic stock images if you’re in need of a little extra money over Christmas.
Christmas day portraits
Oh my god do we have fun with Christmas portraits. For tips on how to make your family members beg to have their photos taken, check out how to trick your family into loving Christmas portraits!