Hello and welcome to the month of twinkling lights, mulled wine, mince pies and cosy evenings in front of a real fire. Yes, it is FINALLY the month of Christmas!
Throwback to when this amazing guy visited for some family photos
After my somewhat frenetic month last month, I have determinedly removed my foot from that particular gas pedal, and instead taken a few (think many) deep breaths of calm. Living with my lovely father-in-law, hubby, a couple of teenagers and a crazy dog, does mean that I find myself surrounded by the people I love on a far more regular basis than is strictly necessary or healthy.
So, I have joined a local health spa where I can swim, savour a coffee, read and just be. In a very short space of time, this has become my ‘go to’ place. Away from it all, where I can just sit and think. How often in our lives are we able to think, in peace and without distraction? I was asked that question recently and decided that I wouldn’t ignore it like I normally would, because I was too busy, but that I would act on it.
Anyway, last month I talked about how to get the most from being in front of a camera – not an easy ask, but hopefully those tips gave you some ideas and advice. In this blog, we are going all out on, ‘Capturing the Magic of Christmas’ and I will be sharing tips on how to take perfect festive pics.
So, grab a mug of something soothing, a mince pie, piece of Christmas cake and or some stollen (Aldi mini bites really are divine), and join me as I wax lyrical about some elements toconsider for your perfect festive photographs.
No. 1 Tell A Story!
Photographs for any occasion tend to carry more meaning and therefore, more effect, if relayed within a story. Think about your last holiday – it starts with a journey, reveals the destination[s] along with the experiences and ends withanother journey.
For my family, that generates a whole load of images as we travel to France each year by car, yes, a big car, and then I shoot images of my children, hubby and our two dads, plus the crazy dog, as we spend our time exploring our little piece of heaven.
By detailing the preparations, you can capture the anticipation and those special moments that are always around at this time of year. From decorating the tree and house, drinks with friends and family, playing games and laying the table. These combine to provide a great selection that you can go onto edit (more about that later!), and then either store, make into a feature – think canvas, photo book or simply an image in a frame. Photographs really are the gift that keeps on giving.
No.2 Set That Scene
This part is really rather important as there can be so many additions within a photograph that didn’t need to be there. Some I’ve seen include large houseplants seemingly protruding from the side of people’s heads, piles of laundry, people caught in mid-run as they pass the shot and of course, messy corners.
Here are my mini tips for getting this bit of taking photos right: -
a) Pay attention - Examine your surroundings with a keen eye for detail and think about what makes this time of year special in your home or your chosen location? Could it be the cosy atmosphere created by the glow of scented candles, maybe it’s your carefully adorned mantelpiece, or possibly the twinkle of fairy lights?
b) Spot that clutter - It really will detract from the magic you're trying to capture. Clear away unnecessary items that may divert attention from the focal points of your festive setup. This important step will make sure that those images convey the heartwarming features of thisseason.
c) Identify the focal point – Who is the star of your photo? Whether it’s a lavishly decorated Christmas tree, a cozy reading spot adorned with blankets, plush cushions and Tom Hardy or a beautifully set dining table, make sure your chosen focal point embodies all things festive. Note - Frame your shots to highlight and draw the viewer’s eye to the centrepiece – aka, Tom Hardy 😊
d) Get personal – Don’t fear injecting personality into the scene. Make those handmade ornaments, DIY decorations that ooze sentimental value. These personal touches add that unique flavour to your photos, makingthem more meaningful, so that they tell a story beyond just visual appeal.
e) Ambiance, baby! – This always plays a crucial role in the overall mood of your photos. Experiment with the warmth of ambient lighting. Use string lights, candles or a fireplace to create a cozy atmosphere that translates into your images. Adjusting lighting elevates the mood, bringing out the magical undertones of the season.
f) Keep it coordinated - Choose a consistent colour scheme that resonates with the festive season. Whether you favour classic red and green, wintry blues and silvers or a warm and rustic mix of earthy tones, coordinating colours and textures in your scene adds visual appeal and contributes to the overall aesthetic of your photos.
Think about it this way, setting a scene creates a visual harmony that brings all the elements of Christmas together.
By paying attention to detail, clearing the clutter, identifyingfocal points, getting personal, ticking the ambiance and coordinating colours and texture, you will transform thatspace into the perfect backdrop for your festive memories.
So, let the creative process begin and may your festive photos tell a tale of joy, love and the beauty of the season.
No. 3 Snap Those Candid Moments
I am a big believer in capturing the moments when the person or animal is unaware that they are the subject in my lens. Yes, orchestrating shoots is a huge part of my role, but time and again, I have found that some of the best images happen when the person is oblivious.
Candid moments, shared with your loved ones, reveal the true meaning of this month and make more memorable images. A time for family and friends, where some reflect, others plan and the rest of us are thankful for another year on this special planet of ours.
December can be, and I guess, should be cold, but that is no reason to stay snuggled by that fire, eating a mince pie and sipping hot, mulled wine. Oh yes, mince pies… well, after sampling a few offerings from the big boys (Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Marks) I have settled on the winner… Homemade Mince Pies baked by Martha, my daughter. They are simply superb!
As I was saying… despite wanting to stay snuggled up etc it is important to make the most of the natural light and get outside. Take your camera because you never know what you may see.
Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a fab New Year.
Take care, dear reader, until next time.