Top 15 Holiday Photography Tips For The Novice Photographers

Holiday photography is more than just taking pictures of your home decorated in red and green. It’s about capturing the holiday spirit that everyone is feeling. For many, the holiday season is a time for reunions, catching up with old friends, and of course, celebrating. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit, or if you’re just looking for some new ideas for your next session, here are some top tips for the novice photographer.

1. Make a plan

First things first. Decide what you want to achieve with your session. Are you hoping to take some traditional holiday photos? Or are you hoping to create some unique images? Setting a plan for your session will help you stay focused on your goals and not get side-tracked.  This is also an opportunity for you to get some ideas for your next session. You may find that some of the tips below are particularly suited to your needs. You can also use this as an opportunity to get to know your photographer a little better. If you’ve got a photographer you’ve used in the past, ask them about their experience working with pets, children, seniors, etc. This will give you some insight into how to work with certain subjects and will help you create better portraits.

2. Take colourful photos

Where do you start when it comes to capturing the holiday spirit? Start with the photos! If you’re looking to capture the holiday spirit, and take a colourful approach, you can’t go wrong with rainbow coloured photos. From colourful backgrounds to white or neutral clothes, your photos can capture the creativity, and the joy that everyone is feeling. From a lighthearted photo shoot to a more serious style photoshoot, there are many ways to style your photos to get the holiday spirit and feel creative.

3. Set up a backdrop

One of the best ways to get the best shot of your holiday decor is by setting up a backdrop. Whether it’s outside or inside, a simple white or light coloured wall or background will help bring out the textures and colours of your decorations. Put your favourite photo onto the wall as your backdrop and use a simple wooden frame and/or pop up stand for a more budget-friendly option.

4. Use a tripod

One of the best ways to protect your gear is to use a tripod. A tripod not only protects your gear but also allows you to keep your camera steady. This allows you to capture images without the movement, blur, or other issues that can come from a handheld camera. A tripod is a must for any photographer and is especially important for the novice photographer.

5. Turn on the light and look for tilt

You may have heard about how great light trails are for capturing the holiday spirit, but if you’re looking to take your photography to the next level and add a tilt to your photos, you can’t do it better than with outside light. Indoors, you can easily turn on a small lamp, or turn on your lights slightly to achieve a similar look to outside light. 

Outdoor, you can achieve a great tilt with the street lights or even car headlights. Indoors, you can achieve a similar look with a window with a draft or slight shadow, or even just by creating a light trail with your fingers. 

Outdoor, you can easily position yourself between two street lights to achieve a tilt, or hold a flashlight between your teeth to achieve a similar look. Indoors, you can create a tilt by placing a lamp on a rail or bookshelf, or even by placing a lamp on a timer to create a similar look.

6. Try a square photoshoot

For those who love square photo shoots, this is a great tip for novice photographers. For those who aren’t up on the square photo shoot trend, it’s taking a square photo instead of a traditional portrait. 

Looking for a square photoshoot isn’t as easy as it sounds. It takes getting used to, but the result is a great photo of your subject squaring off with the camera. 

7. Use available light

This is the most important tip for novice photographers. A photoshoot is not a time to experiment. It’s a time to get the job done. Pick a time and a place that is as light as possible — not too bright, not too dark. If you need some assistance with this, ask your photographer. If you need to make your session times flexible, there are many apps designed to help you find a photographer in your area.  If you can’t get to a place that is as light as possible, at least pick a place that is as bright as possible. If you can’t pick a place with bright light, at least pick a place that has some sort of natural light. Bring a lamp if you need to, or if possible, bring a sweater or jacket to cover yourself up. If the weather is nice, consider using a portable fan to create some ambient light.

8. Bring a subject in

If you want to capture the spirit of the season, a great way to do so is by bringing in a subject that mirrors the spirit of the season. For example, bring in ornaments, a Christmas tree, or other decorations that are a part of your home. Bring in a favourite holiday item, or a piece of decor that reflects the season.  Bringing in a subject is also a great way to create more dynamic portraits. Rather than having your subject sit still, you can take advantage of their movements. If you want to create a portrait of a family sitting around the table for Thanksgiving, take advantage of the table’s curve and create a dynamic portrait where the family is not just sitting still, but is interacting with one another. You can also bring in other elements in your shots to make the scene more interesting. Bring in an ornament, a candle, a glass of wine, etc.

9. Keep track of lighting and composition

One of the best tips we can give to novices is to keep track of lighting and composition. While it may seem like a hassle, it will help you get better at capturing the best shots without fail. Whether you are in your home or getting ready in a studio, take note of the lighting and composition. This will help you focus on your decor and not your camera settings.

10. Get help

If you’re looking to bring in more traditional holiday images, you may want to consider hiring an assistant. While you’re setting up your lights and props, your assistant can help with your subject as well.  If you’re looking to create some unique images, you may want to consider hiring a costume. This is especially useful for photoshoots outside where you can easily create a costume that reflects the spirit of the season. Whether you’re creating a snowman, a Christmas tree, or a gingerbread man, hiring a costume allows your photographer to work with a costume that reflects the spirit of the season without having to make a costume themselves.

11. Don’t be afraid to try something different

One of the best ways to create unique images is to try something different. Whether it’s using a unique location, using a unique prop, or using a unique pose, you can use these tips to create unique images. You can also try something different with your lighting.  One of the best ways to create unique images is to try something different. Whether it’s using a unique location, using a unique prop, or using a unique pose, you can use these tips to create unique images. 

12. Choose the right lens

While many photographers will tell you to use a wide-angle lens on your home decor photos, that’s not always the best choice. A wide-angle lens will capture every corner of your home, including the mess. Depending on the style of home you have, you might be better off using a normal or macro lens.

13. Ask your family and friends to bring props

If you’re hosting a family get together, ask your guests to bring in their favourite holiday decorations. Even if you’re not hosting, it’s never a bad idea to bring in a few decorative touches from your home. Set up a “tree-ish” in your living room with family members’ and friends’ photos for a fun and unique atmosphere.

14. Don’t forget to protect your gear

Whether it’s your camera or camera lens, it’s important to protect your gear. Whether it’s a hard case or a simple lens cover, it’s important to keep your gear safe. Protecting your gear is key to ensuring it lasts longer and can get the best shot.

15. Get comfy and play around

As with any other photo session, it can be helpful to get comfortable and play around during the shoot. Whether it’s holding a different pose or bringing along your props, it can be helpful to get creative. This can help you get even better shots without fail, without distracting you from the overall atmosphere.


Bottom Line

Holiday photography presents a great opportunity to create some memorable images. Whether you’re looking to create traditional holiday images or you’re looking to create some unique images, these tips can help you achieve your goals. Although it can be difficult to create great holiday images, with a little preparation, and a little creativity, you can easily create images that will be memorable for years to come.


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