The streets twinkle with lights, and little ones have started counting down the days. Christmas is approaching, and there’s magic in the air! Don’t miss the chance to capture some of these wonderful moments. If you follow our tips, you’ll end up with spellbinding pictures that will successfully illustrate the magic of the season.
Let your imagination guide you.
There’s nothing like blur to add an ethereal touch to your photos. To achieve this, set your camera to “Shutter Priority,” then select 1/15 of a second. With this speed, which is quite slow, the shutter will stay opened longer: it will blur the image if you (the photographer), or your subject, move. If you move, the entire image will be blurry, but if you use a tripod and ask your subject to walk slowly, her movement alone will leave a whimsical trail.
Take several trial shots and adjust your camera’s speed and that of your subject. You can also use photo editing software to add a “Gaussian Blur”—usually found under the “Effects” tab—which will make your image look hazy.
Set the scene for an ethereal photo.
Candles and fairy lights are your best bet for turning your living room into a hygge Scandinavian cabin. Once evening has arrived, place candles on a table, in front of a wall covered in fairy lights.
Disable your camera’s flash, and select a large enough aperture (e.g. f/2.8) so as to lower the field depth and render the backdrop blurry. The scene is now set for your subjects!
Paint with light.
"Light painting" is a technique in which you paint using a light source, which is usually a flashlight.
Make sure your camera is at the minimum ISO setting and on a small aperture setting (e.g. f/22). This way, the picture will be dark, apart from the light you’ll use, and the edges will be sharp: the perfect recipe for a clear “painting”!
Choose a slow shutter speed (i.e. at least 15 seconds). Place the camera on a tripod and capture the scene using the self-timer, or better yet, a remote switch.
Under low-light or dark conditions, trace a shape in the air, e.g. a Christmas tree, using a light source, while facing the camera. Don’t forget to move away if you don’t wish to be in the shot. You may have to do several trial runs before achieving the desired result, but it’s well worth it!
Capture the magic that surrounds you in your daily life.
During the holiday season, the streets are lit up. At dusk, when the sky is blue but not yet dark, the lights take on an ethereal glow. Photograph your city at this time of the day—the result will be even more spectacular if you take your photos from high-up.
Another technique is to capture a scene through a window that’s fogged up or frosty.
Whether natural or recreated, the magic you capture is all your own!