How to Take Beautiful Holiday Photos

With the holiday seasons soon approaching, there are endless chances for taking festive pictures and capturing those all important moments of friends and family. There are however those times when you must deal with kids running wild, bad lighting and other things that may slow the entire process down. So let’s touch on some of the ways in which the changes can be improved and your holiday snaps being the best that they can be.


Make sure that all your equipment is working, clean and fully charged. There is nothing worse than running out of battery whilst taking pictures, be it during the holidays or out and about. Secondly, make sure that your equipment is clean and that there is no dust or dirt on the lenses or camera sensor. When going through images after they are taken and seeing large dust mites in the images not only ruins the pictures but also adds to the time that must be spent in post-processing and correcting the problem. A cheap and affordable way of doing this is using a rocket blower every time you change the lens. Give the inside of the camera a quick blow as well as the lens. Also, try not to change the lens in dusty areas or where there is a lot of wind.


The holidays bring with it a multitude of lighting opportunities. So ensure to keep your eyes open and look for interesting lighting situations. Keep your camera close by or around so that in the event of an opportunity arising, your camera is ready to go and the opportunity not missed. A flash can also add to the atmosphere created in the picture, but remember that a direct flash can be very unflattering, so use a diffuser and should you have an external flash, try adding lighting from different positions.

holiday photo

The Story

Look at documenting an unfolding story. There is nothing worse than having pictures jumbled and in no specific order. So take pictures that tell a story, be it preparing Christmas lunch or the story of Christmas morning with your family and children.



Ensure that the pictures are composed well and thought out. One important rule is that of the rule of thirds. Imagine that the frame of the camera is divided into thirds, both vertically and horizontally, and then when taking the picture, place subjects along those lines. This will not only help draw attention to the subject but also help keep the picture balanced and more pleasing to the eye. Christmas can be a busy and hectic time. It could be a great idea to leave some of the space in the frame empty so that the picture remains uncluttered and not too busy to the eye.



Shoot portraits of people enjoying themselves. Keep the portraits quick and spontaneous as to capture the mood. No model wants to be sitting for long periods at a time. This not only quickens the process but also allows for people to carry on with their day, helps ensure that the photographer can also enjoy their day and also captures a more realistic reflection the mood. Small tips when shooting portraits include shooting slightly from above your subjects. This helps reduce double chins, elongates the neck and overall is a more flattering angle. Take good headshots with people getting their heads close together. This makes composing the picture easier as well as giving a family, festive feel.


Christmas is about sharing

Let others use your camera. Ensure that the settings are correct and pass the camera around. It gives the photographer a chance to rest and have some fun but also lets others capture the holidays and will give different perspectives and pictures of different interesting things. Everyone has different points of view and this will be reflected in the pictures that will be taken.


Be in the Picture

Don’t forget to include yourself in the pictures. There is nothing worse than looking back on the pictures that were taken and not seeing yourself in any of them. So find a way of resting the camera on a table and using a remote control or the timer feature on the camera. A tripod is a more versatile option for this and will provide more option for changing the perspective of the pictures.


Shoot, shoot, shoot

There is so much going on throughout the holiday season, and many of us will think that it will all be easy to remember, but in practice, this holiday season in time will merge with those ten years ago and slowly become a blur. So take as many pictures as possible. Now on many cameras, there is the video option, so shoot some video and this can be watched over and over again. There is also the option of pulling frames from the video and creating images.

Social Media

Remember that the holidays are about giving and sharing, so remember to share those images with your loved ones. It is not necessary to share all of the images, so chose the best ones and share them. Possibly select those ones that best tell the story of the day or that help to remember and relive the day best. Social media is not the only way to share media. Make prints, photo albums or collages for family and friends, which they can hang up and appreciate all day long.



Ensure that the images and videos that are taken are all backed up. There is nothing worse than losing your data by it being lost, computer breaking or being deleted by accident. So always make backups and this will ensure that all images and data will be stored safely for years to come.

Enjoy and be Merry

Lastly, holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Do not forget to document them and take pictures but don’t get obsessed with it all and miss time with friends and family celebrating. So take some time to sit down, relax and enjoy yourself. Try to find a good balance between both and do not get stressed with it all. Have fun!

About Radwa Khalil

Radwa Khalil is a professional photographer for more than 10 years she is also the founder of photographytuts.

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