LIFESTYLE: Expert tips for taking Instagram-worthy Christmas photos

Does your Christmas tree look amazing but none of your photos do it justice? We’ve shared our top tips on capturing the spirit and atmosphere of the holidays in your home...

Christmas Lighting

It can be challenging to capture Christmas tree and home exterior lights, this being because they are very bright objects that have low ambient lighting. Whether you want to capture the spirit of the season during your next outing, or you want to show off your own holiday display, timing your shot just right is the key to photography success. 

To capture the perfect image, you must balance out the light sources. Twilight or dusk is the perfect time to snap your Instagram shot. This way, you’ll still be able to feature the shapes of the surrounding elements, while the sunlight won’t make the lights look washed out. 

Top tip; Interior Specialist Nick Drewe “Using a tripod can help to clarify your images. When taking a photo of twinkling lights a shaky hand can result in a blurry photo. 

Never use flash when taking photos of Christmas lights. Flash will counteract the texture and colour of the lights and cause them to blur.” 

Christmas Ornaments 

Many homes have beautiful ornaments that are unique in some way – but no matter how carefully you place them, capturing their essence can be difficult. The flash of your camera and dark lighting can blur the detailing and shine of the ornament. To overcome this, try taking your photos during the day, or during low light settings. 

It’s best to snap your photo inside your home, using the holiday lights for illumination. 

Top tip; “Try getting up close to your ornaments. This way you can focus on the detailing, and it can help prevent distractions from the background.” 

“If you really want to capture the detailing of your ornaments, try moving them to a plain background, off the tree. This way you can really draw focus to the decoration and remove any distractions from the background. For example, if you keep your ornaments stored in a box, take a few photographs before you unpack them for decorating.” 

Focus on Decorations 

The most common festive photo is the Christmas tree, with more than 27 million hashtag posts on Instagram, but trying to squeeze the whole tree into one shot can overcomplicate the image. Instead, why not focus on just one or two decorations. 

Christmas decorations can be shiny, which means they’re reflective, so it’s important to keep an eye on what’s being reflected – as you don’t want to see your face in a bauble. You may need to reposition yourself or move the decorations around. 

Top tip; “Coating your Christmas baubles with hairspray will create a matt finish, this will help to reduce any reflections from your surroundings. Don’t spray near a naked flame.” 

Blur the background 

Whether you’re snapping a picture of your Christmas tree, wreath or festive bakes, making them the main focal point of your image is important. Depending on how detailing your background is, you may want to use an app or portrait mode on your phone to blur it out. 

Doing so, will focus full attention on your festive decorations and highlight the unique detailing within the image. If you have Christmas lighting twinkling in the background, this will create a bokeh effect in the background. 

Top tip; “If your background is becoming overcrowded, with furniture, decorations and even Christmas presents, try cropping in on the image. This can highlight the most beautiful aspects of the photograph without having to rearrange your living space.” 

Add life to your photo 

Family members and pets make the perfect image props – they create a real sense of festive spirit. Try taking candid photos during your Christmas celebration, round the tree, at the dining table or just in your living room while watching a festive movie. 

If you want your Christmas decorations to be the main focal point in the image, ask your guests to gather around them to create a joyful and festive atmosphere. 

Top tip; “Props are an essential part of photography. Create steaming hot chocolate or mug of mulled wine to place alongside your decorations. You can add biscuits, utensils, and other common Christmas essentials to your photo to really elevate the image.”

Minerva Studio
Author: Minerva Studio