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Holiday Photography: Don’t Make These Mistakes!

Hand holding a DSLR camera photographing a low-light holiday scene of a Christmas tree

From opening gifts on Christmas morning to sledding with the kids to family dinners and staff parties, the holiday season presents us with some fantastic photo opportunities. Unfortunately, this time of year also presents some challenges for a photographer if they don’t know what they’re doing. Here are some common mistakes people make when capturing the holidays and tips on how to prevent them.

1. Horrible Lighting

‘Tis the season for low-light photography. Rooms are often lit solely with lights from the Christmas tree, fireplace, or candles on the dinner table. As beautiful as this is, it can be a photographer’s nightmare. Photos can turn out underexposed, people wind up having red eye or looking like a deer caught in the headlights when the camera flash has blinded them. How do you avoid these problems? Try using natural light as much as possible and turn off your camera’s flash. You can also consider increasing your camera’s ISO settings to make your camera more sensitive to light, but keep in mind that the higher the ISO is, the grainier the photo will be.

Holiday photo of an excited little boy holding a Christmas decoration away from his little sister

2. Too Many Distractions

People will often try to capture too much detail in one photo, making the image extremely busy and cluttered. Taking the “less is more” approach certainly applies with holiday photography. Rather than trying to squeeze family, friends, Christmas decorations, gifts, etc. into one photo, choose a focal point and stick with it. You can also try shooting with a shallow depth of field to help eliminate distracting backgrounds.

Holiday dinner plate with Christmas decorations

3. Forgetting Details

There are plenty of holiday photo opportunities that are obvious, such as kids opening gifts Christmas morning or family sitting around the dinner table. However, one mistake people often make when capturing these moments is they stand too far away from their subject, resulting in photos that lack in detail and expression. Get up close to your subject and fill your frame as much as possible. This will also help eliminate the distractions mentioned earlier. Another mistake is forgetting to capture the finer details of the holidays. Yes, the obvious photos like the ones just mentioned are great to have, but also think outside the box and get photos of things like a single decoration on the tree, the melting icicle outside, or the crumpled up wrapping paper on the floor.

Close-up holiday photo of melting icicles

4. Not Planning Ahead

If you don’t plan ahead, you could find yourself without a working camera or missing out on great photo opportunities. You need to prepare for and be ready to capture the best holiday photos. Make sure your camera’s batteries are fully charged and you have enough space on your memory card. If you have extra batteries or memory, pack it in your camera bag. Think about what sort of conditions you’ll be shooting in and pack accordingly. For example, if you plan to shoot some holiday group photos, packing along a tripod means you can get in on the photo too. Also make sure you and your camera are ready to capture unexpected events by having your camera set to burst or continuous shooting mode.

Winter holiday portrait of family and dog in the snow having fun

5. Blurry Photos

There’s a lot of hustle and bustle during the holiday season and it often results in photos being out of focus and blurry. The problem with shooting in auto is your camera can easily be fooled and focus on the wrong subject, resulting in blurry images. Try pressing your camera’s shutter button half way down to make the camera lock its focus on your subject and then continue to press the button all the way. Using a faster shutter speed can also help eliminate blurry photos. One more thing you can do to prevent your holiday photos from being blurry is to make sure your camera is steady when shooting – use a tripod if possible or if that’s not an option, position yourself so your arms are resting on something solid, like a table or countertop.

Winter holiday photo of a dog running in the snow pulling a sled with a child on it

When All Else Fails …

If you’ve captured some holiday photos that you’re not really happy with, don’t press the delete button on your digital camera just yet. Transfer your images to your computer and open them with photo editing software. Pretty much all photo editors allow you to make adjustments to your images, from tweaking the brightness and contrast of a photo, to cropping, straightening, and sharpening it. You could even edit a photo that has too many distractions so that only your focal point is in colour, while the rest of the image is in black and white. Play around and don’t be afraid to try new things. 

Holiday photo of a mother and child outside blowing snow from their mittens

Got It? Now Flaunt It!

Following these holiday photography tips, you’re sure to get some excellent keepers! And when you do, make sure you show them off! Online photo printing with Posterjack has never been easier or more fun! To help get you started, here are a few product ideas for turning your photos into art:

If you have a photo that includes a lot of Christmas lights, consider turning it into a Metal Print. Your photo will be printed directly onto aluminum, and with its vibrant colours and flash of bare metal, your holiday photo will look amazing.

Posterjack Metal Print with holiday decorations in the snow

Your holiday photo will look amazing when made into a Posterjack Metal Print!

Winter sunsets, kids thawing out in front of the fire, beautifully decorated Christmas trees … there really isn’t a photo that wouldn’t look incredible as an Acrylic Print. Want to see your photo in high definition? Of all of Posterjack products, an Acrylic Print is the photo art medium that will really make your photo pop.

Posterjack Acrylic Print with holiday decorations in the snow

Posterjack Acrylic Prints really make your photos stand out!

Do you have a favourite family portrait? Or a photo of everyone – including the dog! – in the middle of a snowball fight? Maybe you managed to capture the rosy cheeks of the children as they sipped on mugs of hot cocoa? Every one of these photos would look great as a Posterjack Canvas Print. Made from 100% cotton that is whitened using an environmentally-safe process, hand stretched, and made in Canada, the quality of Posterjack Canvas Prints really can’t be beat.

Posterjack Canvas Print with Christmas gifts and holiday decorations in snow

Turn your holiday photos into art with Posterjack Canvas Prints.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Now that you’re equipped with some holiday photography tips, tell me: what types of photos do you hope to capture this year? Do you have any favourites from previous years? Leave a comment below to share your ideas!

Happy holidays!


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