Tips for Taking Memorable Holiday Photos 

The holidays are right around the corner. 

While we busily prepare with last-minute shopping, wrapping, and cooking, our focus is on spending time with loved ones in the days ahead.

Then we face this age-old problem: the holidays are over and we realize everyone was too busy to take photos of the festivities. 

Here are some tips to help you take photos that will capture the stories of your holiday memories.

Capture Moments with Candid Photos

Posed photos are always a must, but you’ll love to look back on pictures of unrehearsed surprise, wonder, laughter, and love.

One way to capture candid photos is with the “Burst” mode on an iPhone. When you activate Burst, the camera captures a quick series of photos, about ten frames per second. Burst works differently depending on your iPhone model. 

iPhone XS, XR or older: simply hold down the shutter button to take a burst of photos.

Apple changed Burst mode slightly on iPhone 11, 11Pro, and 11Pro Max. To use Burst mode, slide the shutter to the left, press and hold. The camera keeps snapping photos until you release the button.

Here is a helpful post explaining how Burst mode works on the new iPhone 11 models.

Include Photos of Loved Ones Enjoying Their Gifts
One popular time to take photos is when everyone tears open their presents – but be sure to keep your camera handy when the unwrapping is over! 

Keep the joy going by capturing the moments when a child plays with a new toy, or a loved one tries on that new piece of jewelry.

Be Mindful of Indoor Lighting
Because we take many of our holiday photos in the evening and indoors, lighting can be a challenge. To make sure your indoor photos look great:

  • Use natural light coming in from a window.
  • Avoid backlighting and light your subject from the front.
  • Make sure to turn on “Smart HDR” in your iPhone camera’s settings.
  • Steady the camera by resting your arms on a counter, or hold your phone with both hands and pressing your elbows into your body.  

Experiment with Artistic Angles and Photo Effects

Holiday decorations and lighting provide beautiful context and backdrops for our photos.

As you prepare to take photos of family and friends, try using depth of field, also known as the Bokeh effect. This creates blurry backgrounds while you focus on your subject. 

One way to achieve this effect is to use the ambient lighting of candles, or holiday lights. For example, you can position your subject in front of the tree, then open your iPhone camera app. 

With your iPhone in Portrait mode, you can take the photo using one of the following methods:

  • Tap and hold the screen until you see the yellow “Depth Effect” box, or tap the ? in the top right corner, then slide the depth of field meter to the left to blur the background lights of the tree. 
  • Tap and hold the screen until you see the yellow “AE/AF Lock” box. With Focus Lock on, aim at the subject and take the picture to capture the blurred background effect. We used this method while taking this photo of our dog.
Bokeh effect photo of our dog with iPhone Portrait mode.
Bokeh effect photo of our dog using iPhone Portrait mode.

You can also get creative by taking photos from different angles. For example, when taking photos of small children, get down at eye level with them. If space allows, take photos of everyone at the dinner table from above by standing on a chair or from an upstairs landing or loft.

Finally, you can capture some fun outdoor photos of family members playing in the snow, and get some fresh air at the same time!

In this post, we share more features of the iPhone camera to help you take interesting photos.

Avoid Taking Too Many Selfies

Reversing our smartphone’s camera provides a quick and easy way to make sure we get ourselves in a photo when no one else is around to take it for us.

While a few selfies are fine, it’s possible to have too many. And selfies aren’t always the most flattering angle of our subjects. We also miss the background and context of photos with the close-up nature of selfies.

If you want everyone in the photo, take the time to set your phone on a table, shelf, or tripod and set the timer. We recommend this Phone Tripod. It’s portable, adjustable and includes a bluetooth remote.

You’ll be glad to have a memory of what the house looked like that year, or to laugh when you see the family dog photobombing the picture. In fact, make sure to include the family pets in your holiday photos, too! 

Don’t Forget to Include the Most Forgotten Subject

During holiday festivities, moms are often busy in the kitchen, juggling childcare, or taking the photos – and that can leave you with a “mom-less” photo collection. 

Make sure Mom hops into the picture, and even better, capture some good candids of mom in action! Everyone will appreciate the memories of her creating those special holiday touches she always loved.

Keep the Camera Handy and Capture This Year’s Holiday Stories with Photos

With a little planning and a group of assigned “family photographers,” you’ll be sure to capture this year’s holiday moments with photos.

Then next year, if anyone can’t remember what you did last Christmas, you’ll be able to recall the stories with amazing photos.

Let us know if we can help you organize your 2019 photos, or help you discover ways to share them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.