Perfectly captured Christmas photos ...You've seen them, those beautiful warm, golden yellow Christmas lights and a beautifully decorated green Christmas tree. In our opinion, a great, environmentally friendly and clutter-free alternative to a real Christmas tree: a beautiful Christmas photo on Xpozer on the wall!
How can you get your Christmas photos warm and cozy and why do some attempts turn out so blue or yellow? I'll give you 5 tips to create your own super cozy & sparkly Christmas photos!
Tip 1: What to Capture?
Things we often associate with Christmas are Christmas lights, Christmas trees, presents and socializing with family and friends. These are also common themes in Christmas photos. If you need some inspiration, check out the examples below!
As you can see, there are many different topics that are reminiscent of Christmas. Green fir branches, lights in the background, beautiful gifts and cheerful people all look good on a Print. A portrait does require some planning, especially since taking pictures indoors is a challenge in these dark days. Play with the light to get the perfect balance between light and dark. As you can see in the examples, most of the photos are quite dark to create the intimate atmosphere that reminds us of Christmas.
Tip 2: Help, my photo came out blue (or too yellow)!
The problem: you’ve taken a picture of your Christmas decorations. You expected the camera to pick up on those warm yellow hues that your naked eye sees. Instead your image is flat and blue. That Christmassy atmosphere you were trying to capture was lost.
The solution: How yellow or how blue the photo becomes depends on your white balance setting. If you set your white balance correctly, you will get the correct colors in your photo.
What is White Balance?
White balance indicates where in the spectrum between blue and yellow light your photo is captured, this is also called the color temperature. Your camera has a number of standard settings to determine the white balance. These come in the form of icons of a cloud, sun, shadow, fluorescent bar, light bulb, lightning bolt (flash) and the automatic white balance mode which is indicated by the word AUTO or the abbreviation AWB. This allows you to get your white balance right in most situations. Occasionally you might prefer to determine it yourself, for example because the lighting conditions are too complicated for your camera and the camera therefore makes the wrong choice. In some situations you might want the photo to be a bit more blue or a bit more yellow, to create a certain atmosphere.
White balance works like this:
Select custom/manual in your camera settings. White balance is expressed in a number between 1000 and 10000 Kelvin. Here is an overview of which white balance number is appropriate for which situation
White balance number (Kelvin)
Sunrise / Sunset
Daylight on a bright sunny day
Daylight with light clouds
Shade or heavy cloud cover
Bonus tip from our Xperts:
When taking Christmas photos, make sure that no window is visible in the background, as this makes it very difficult to find the right balance.
Change your point of view and you will get a more realistic and true to color photo. See the examples below.
Tip 3: Christmas Portraits
With Christmas portraits, the models are often nicely dressed, and there is a fun, Christmassy background. The challenge with Christmas portraits is to get the right exposure. You've just read about white balance, and it's going to help you a lot. Christmas portraits are often a bit darker and have some lights in the background. This means that the models in your photo quickly become too dark. That is why you work with extra lamps that illuminate the models from the front. Don't have professional studio lights? No problem! You probably have regular home-garden-and-kitchen lamps that you can use for this.
Bonus tip from our Xperts:
It's best to make the photo a bit lighter than you want the end result to be, that way you can create that cozy atmosphere you are looking for in post-processing. If you make the photo too dark, too much information will be lost in your photo file, and when retrieving the dark parts of the photo you will notice that you are missing detail.
Tip 4: Bokeh
Oh, how we love beautiful bokeh, especially with Christmas photography! Bokeh is the phenomenon of blurring the out of focus parts in your photo, creating round shapes, which are especially visible in the highlights of your photo. Below is a nice example. The foreground with the sparkler is sharp. In the background all the lights have become spheres. Resulting in a dreamy image. Beautiful right?
How to create a beautiful bokeh in your Christmas photos?
You can only get nice bokeh like the one above if you have a lens with which you can use a low f-number. You'll need an f-number of 2.8 or lower.
Our Xpozer Partner explains it very clearly in their article What is an aperture?. Their articles are very accessible and well written. Have a look!
Small depth of field
For a nice bokeh you use a small depth of field. Only your subject is (partially or completely) in focus, the background is very blurry. Get close to your subject and focus. Can't get the bokeh you want? Then take some distance and zoom in.
Where possible, increase the distance between the subject and the background.
Which lens do you recommend?
Use a lens with a minimum focal length of 50mm. The 55mm is great for a nice bokeh, and is often very affordable. It helps you capture razor-sharp photos that you can print big and bold on Xpozer
Tip 4: Get Creative with Bokeh Shapes
When you're done creating bokeh spheres in your Christmas photos, get creative with other shapes! The spheres are round only because the lens opening is round. For example, if you make a lens cap with a cut-out figure out of cardboard, and stick this in front of your lens, the bokeh will also get that shape! Super cool! Check out the examples below.
To sum it all up:
For the best Christmas photos, pay attention to your white balance, make sure you have enough light (you can always darken your image with your editing software) and put fun Christmas items in the photo. When photographing people, make sure there is enough light from the front. And as a bonus: play and experiment with the most beautiful bokeh!