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Quick Tip: Must-Capture Christmas & New Year Shots

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Read Time: 4 mins

Its already December, and the holiday season is rapidly descending upon us. Christmas and New Year offer plenty of opportunity for festive photography, and in today's Quick Tip we'll be exploring a few different shots that you can aim to capture over this time of year.

Christmas Markets

Christmas markets can be found all over the globe. They often revert back to more traditional and romantic ideas, rather than being over commercialized (like much of the city-centre photography you'll normally shoot).

With stalls selling festive drinks, food, candles, wood carvings and much more, its hard to find a a location quite the same.

This location can pose a challenge - people are always moving between stalls, and there's lots of odd lighting. Remember to pack your tripod or monopod with either a prime lens or a wide angle. Leave your telephoto at home - there is so much going on you don't want to miss any of it.

Personally I prefer using a prime lens with an aperture below F2.0 as it will often allow you to experiment with depth of field, and create some magical winter shots.

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Image courtesy of Swiv

Your Own Home

Capturing pictures of your own home can be warm, cosy, and still very rewarding. Try taking shots before and after you decorate to show your family and friends.

In your own home you are able to take pictures of the decorations and festivity that has the most meaning to you. When I was younger, I remember decorating the tree with my family - and it is still something I enjoy today.

This year, I experimented with placing my camera on a tripod away from the tree, setting it to automatically snap a photo every thirty seconds and capture the whole process.

Here are a few ideas for you to shoot:

  • Presents
  • Christmas Tree
  • Stockings
  • Lights
  • Food and drink

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Image courtesy of StuckInCustoms


When I think of the end of year holidays, one of the first things which comes into my mind is snow. If you are lucky enough to receive some this Christmas make sure you go out and enjoy it (rather than grumbling about how difficult it is to get to work)!

When shooting snow, don't just grab your camera out of your bag and start snapping. Wait a few minutes to allow your camera to get used the temperature. If you start snapping too quickly, your lens will often mist up.

I suggest going out in the evening, using the little light from the surroundings and grabbing a tripod for long exposure shots. Often nobody is around and you can get some stunning shots.

Also my final tip is to shoot in manual. With the expanse of white snow, often your camera's metering system can be fooled. Some cameras even contain a snow mode (normally expensive compacts) which is well worth using.

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Image courtesy of Mkrigsman

News Year's Eve

If you can make it to your nearest city you will often find a well planned firework display on New Year's Eve. Make sure you get there in plenty of time for a good view - if possible, try and plan to position yourself somewhere that also includes a famous landmark or building.

If you missed it a few weeks ago, I'd suggest reading A 10 Step Guide to Taking Breathtaking Firework Photographs right here on Phototuts+.

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Image courtesy of Christopher Chan

Further Ideas

  • Recreate a famous religious scene from the Bible. Recently I helped re-create "the last supper" which has inspired me to re-create scenes focusing around Christmas.
  • Presents - In modern day life, presents are one of main focal points at Christmas. Make sure you capture both the wrapped present and opening of the gift.
  • Family - One of the most important things to capture is your own family. Christmas is about bringing people together, so make the most of it!
  • Christmas Carol Services - Make your way down to a carol service one night!
  • Parties - Capture your family and friends having a good time. Just don't get too snap happy and remember to enjoy yourself as well...

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Image courtesy of Understatement Jo

Happy Holidays!

I hope you have a great holiday period, whichever festival you celebrate. Enjoy the time with your family, and wrap up warm! I'd love to hear any other tips and ideas you have, so feel free to share them in the comments.

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