This post is part of my 10 week Christmas planning series, you find the more posts in the series here.
I am one of those people that still sends out Christmas Cards. Each year I receive less and less myself as so many people choose not to send a card or choose an e-card instead. I take a photo/s of the kids and then use them to create the card. Photography is not my strength so I asked a photographer for tips on how to take photos to use for Christmas card. Lou Glendon from Click Love Grow has put together some fab tips that I am going to use this year – hope they help you too!
Christmas is just around the corner! It’s such an exciting time of year especially with kids because they add such an element of magic to the season.
Taking a photo of your kids for the express purpose of turning it into a Christmas card is something fun to try! If you already have a vision in mind, we have a few tips and tricks to help you bring it to life. If you haven’t given it that much thought yet, we have a few ideas to inspire you into action!
You don’t need to buy an actual photo booth for this! All you need is a wall, papered with wrapping paper. You could hang tinsel, lights, Christmas bunting… anything!
Then photograph the kids in the same visual style using photo booth accessories. If you google Christmas themed photo booth accessories, you can buy them online super cheap! Encourage the kids to ham it up, although we don’t think they’ll need much encouragement for this!
Pro Tip: To recreate the photo booth look, ensure your frame is entirely filled with the background paper, then get in close and tight.
Twinkle lights as backdrop is fabulous and classic, it never goes out of style!
This one requires a blank wall, some twinkle lights (of course!), and something to hang them on. With regard to camera gear, aperture is the element of manual shooting that allows you to blur your background. So you will need a camera that lets you choose your aperture settings. You don’t necessarily need a DSLR however, as some point and shoot cameras let you control aperture in certain modes. Check your camera’s user guide. If you do have a DSLR, you will also need a lens capable of a wide aperture setting so that the twinkle lights get beautifully blurred.
Pro Tip: If you have the gear, we have the super easy tutorial to walk you through nailing this shot!
Kids love to dress up, especially little ones, and by including Christmas themed costumes it makes the process so much fun for them. Kids photograph way easier when they’re having fun (seems a no brainer doesn’t it?!).
Think reindeer antlers, elf shoes, santa hats, oversized elf ears, general Christmas themed costumes.
Pro tip: Christmas themed costumes and accessories are fabulous what with all the colour and sparkle, but simplify your background (eg. a blank white wall) to balance the photo and ensure your subject is the main focus.
Posing and Composition
One of the most powerful things you can do when photographing kids, is to consider your perspective.
So many people photograph kids at their own standing adult height. Get down and shoot at their eye level instead, and the result will be a much more engaging photograph.
Other perspectives to try is to have them lying down on their backs on the floor and stand over them, shooting them from above with them looking up at you. Or you lay down and shoot with them looking down at you. A really great way to do this particular one is to do it outdoors, so that you can use the sky as backdrop. It’s especially handy if you can include some fluffy clouds in the frame!
If your subject is a baby, lie down on your belly and shoot at floor level. You can engage your bub by by blowing raspberries, playing peek-a-boo and singing, and doing these things from your position on the floor are much more effective.
If you’re hungry for more posing ideas, have a look at our posing guide.
Pro tip: Get in close, frame out any negative space that doesn’t need to be there and make it obvious who or what your subject is!
Natural light is beautiful and flattering… when it’s good quality light.
Look for soft light which can be found in open doorways, window light, porches, garden gazebos, and the shade of a tree (just watch out for the dappled light on faces which is not so flattering!). Garage doorways are also a surprisingly great source of soft light, and we talk about why over here.
How can you tell if you’ve found soft light as opposed to hard light? Hard light, which is found in the middle of the day when the sun is high overhead, and other un-diffused sources, causes a hard line between light and shadow on your subject’s features. It also causes people to squint, which is not desirable in portraits! By contrast, soft light has very gentle graduations between the light and shadow areas and softens a subject’s skin.
When placing your subject in relation to the light, put them at an approximate 45 degree angle to the light source, and this will give you some shadow on the opposite side which will add some depth to your image.
Pro tip: Unsure if you’ve placed your subject at a good angle to the light source? Look for catch lights in their eyes. Catch lights are those little spots of white you see when the light hits them at a certain angle. Ideally we’d see two spots in each eye at the 10 and 2 position (think of a clock), but any catch lights that bring sparkle to their eyes is a good thing!
So this is just one way to use natural light to photograph a portrait. If you’re interested in getting really creative with easy, beautiful (and free!) natural light, we talk about more ways to use it over here.
Always look around your location for anything that will distract from your subject in the frame and either clear the clutter or move your subject! We’re talking abandoned toys, a basket of laundry, a pile of books or newspapers, stray shoes, those dishes on the bench. It’s a very simple thing to do but it makes an enormous different to your photos!
Good luck! We hope you and your little peeps have a lot of fun with it and if you’re on Instagram, come show us your results with the hashtag #ClickLoveGrow
When Lou Glendon had her first baby, over 10 years ago, she was frustrated that the expensive camera she bought wasn’t giving her the results she craved, and so she dived head first into learning everything she could about photography. She now helps women and mums to gain their own photography confidence through articles and courses; deciphering all the technical jargon, and helping her community take photos they LOVE!