By Amy Treasure

It’s almost Christmas! It’s really crept up on us hasn’t it, or is it just me? At this festive time of year, I always aim to get some good photographs of the family all together and the Christmas action. The benefit of it being Christmas is everyone is that little bit happier and dressed more smartly than usual, which makes for a great starting point.

Here are 15 tips for taking amazing photographs this Christmas

  • Be prepared! If you have a Christmas event coming up, make sure your battery is charged and if you have changeable lenses think about which ones you will need to take with you. Will you need a spare battery or memory card?
  • Posed photographs have their place, but I personally love candid photography. If you’re having a party or a get together why not mill about camera in hand and take a few snaps whilst your family and guests are talking, drinking and getting in the party spirit. I often find these natural moments are the best and the ones that guests and family always want copies of.
  • Photograph the smaller things: glistening fairy lights, the mistletoe hanging in the hall or a beautifully wrapped present under the tree. It’s often the little touches that get overlooked but are a great way of remembering what a special time of year it is.
  • If you are having a get-together, is it feasible to set up a Christmas-themed photo booth? You can make it fun by adding some props such as Santa hats and decorations. As the night goes on the party goers will loosen up and you can end up with some pretty cool shots to remind you of what a good party you throw.
  • I am constantly snapping photographs all year of the individuals in my family but find I have almost none of us together. By arranging a time to get the family together, perhaps on boxing day when the craziness of the big day is over, I know I will get some family shots.
  • It’s so dark at this time of year and this can result in gloomy images. I always aim to photograph in natural light and never use flash. If you do arrange a photo taking session make it for the morning when the light is good and open all the curtains, or even better take everyone outside and make the most of the natural light.
  • Learn how to use your camera’s self-timer and set up a tripod. When you do all get together you can put this to good use and actually be in the photo for a change!
  • The very best photographs make you feel something, so have a think about what you actually want to take a photograph of. Do you want to capture the look on your children’s faces as they open their presents or perhaps you want a visual record of the amazing Christmas cake you baked. It can be a bind if you’re stuck glued to your camera all day and you may even miss out on some of the action so consciously think about the memory you want to capture and have your camera ready for that moment then once you have it you can relax and enjoy your day.
  • If you are taking ‘action’ shots like present opening, then turn your camera to continuous burst mode which will allow you to take multiple frames per second. You can also do this on your iPhone by holding the button down that you use to take a picture. This can be priceless for capturing a range of emotions and reactions; the good and bad!
  • Think about your background and move around your subject. Anything too busy or clutter behind your subject can be distracting and ruin the perfect photograph.
  • Taking pictures of kids can be tricky, I usually say something like ‘oh wow there’s Santa inside my camera can you see him?’ when they peer in, I look out from behind my camera and say ‘boo!’ this usually gets a giggle and results in a lovely natural smiling shot.
  • Find your point of interest before you take the photograph. If you’re photographing children, kneel down to get to their level. For food shots I often find putting the plate of food on the floor and photographing from above works really well.
  • Use the rule of thirds, when I started photography I had an awful habit of making sure everything or everyone was dead centre but actually when you change your perspective your images will be much more pleasing to the eye.
  • Don’t be afraid to edit your images, however, unless you’re a professional you don’t need photoshop or lightroom to work on them post-production. For a long time, I used Picmonkey a free online photo editing programme. It can correct exposure, add filters, remove unsightly objects and even get rid of the odd wrinkle!
  • Most of all have fun, if you’re desperate to capture the perfect image it’s just never going to happen. Think about the steps above but try and take a relaxed approach and that is when you will achieve the best images to look back on in years to come.