Six simple steps to super snaps this Christmas

The Christmas season is upon us. Every year I feel like Christmas just creeps up on me without warning and then within a blink of an eye, it's over. To make sure you capture those special moments during the holiday; whether that is little ones opening presents or celebrations around the table, follow these six simple steps to ensure that you get those beautiful photographs.

Christmas tree and little girl

Don't worry if you haven't got a fancy camera, some smart phones have a fantastic camera built into them which can create amazing shots. The most important thing is to be there when the magic happens.

  1. Declutter the background

Just before you take the picture, think about what you are actually taking a picture of. This may sounds silly, but instead of just a point and shoot picture, have a look (through your viewfinder or phone screen) to see what will actually be in the picture. Photography is all about the detail but if you have too much clutter in the background, this will only detract from your gorgeous little one.

  1. Turn off the flash indoorsMost cameras have a flash built in which is set to auto so if the camera detects that there is not enough light, the flash will automatically fire when you take the picture. This almost always happens when you take photographs inside. Change your flash setting to 'off' to get the most out of your photographs (unless you are taking a photograph in a very dark room). Even in the UK, during the day, we usually get enough natural light coming in from the window, plus extra light from christmas tree lights, lamps and other gadgets can really help light up a room. When you use a flash inside, it can make the photograph feel very cold and create a lot of strong shadows or can completely blow out any detail in the picture. Natural light can create some of the most beautiful photographs so think about what areas are the lightest and brightest in your house. Make sure your little one is facing into the light otherwise their little faces will be really dark.

  2. Turn on the flash outdoors

Now, a great time to use the flash is when you are taking pictures outside. Sounds strange? Let me explain. When you are taking pictures outdoors, there is a lot of different light sources for the camera to try and work out how to take the best picture. I am sure you have taken photographs whereby the sky is bright but the people are in the dark. The flash will fill in the light levels of people or objects close to you. Try it yourself next time you are out for a walk with the family or out in the park. It will really make a difference to your photographs.

  1. Different anglesExperiment a little bit. Being on the same level as your little one can create great photographs but also try moving around a little bit and capture them from a different angle. Some of these angles will work really well such as looking down at them and others not so well but give it a go, you might just catch that perfect moment from that perfect perspective.

  2. What a good photograph looks like

Trying not to be too technical but in photography, there is something called the Rule of Thirds. Basically, this means that photographs are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye if the subject (people or objects) are placed on the gridlines (see below). Some cameras actually have an option to display gridlines through your viewfinder to help you gauge where to place people in your photograph and you will find that your photographs look better.

6. Switch your camera off! After all this, you are telling me to switch my camera off you may be asking? Yes is definitely the answer. I have been so guilty in the past of spending too much time with my eyes glued to the viewfinder trying to capture that perfect shot, when in actual fact, I have missed some amazing moment that I could have captured with my very own inbuilt camera – my eyes. Obviously, it is great to get some photographs to look back on in years to come but what's more important is to share those special moments with loved ones. To be truly in that moment and enjoy every second of it is better than any photograph you can take. So make sure you remember to make those memories this Christmas, get some snaps and then put the camera away and enjoy the moment.

I am now taking booking for newborns arriving between January and April 2018. Click here to book your newborn session or read here to find out more information about newborn sessions.

Abigail is a Children Photographer specialising in beautifully simplistic and timeless portraiture based in Tarporley, Cheshire.

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