Tips for Photographing the Holidays

No matter which holidays you celebrate, this time of year is a great opportunity for families and friends to gather together and make some treasured memories. Here are some tips for creating beautiful and timeless images to remember this magical time of year.

It’s all about LIGHT!

Use all the unique holiday light sources to your advantage: Christmas lights, candles, winter twilight, etc.

Capture emotion: Love, Surprise, Warmth

That’s what we remember most about the holidays, right? When the people you love gather together, there is a huge spectrum of emotions that you can capture. Love to laughter, and maybe even some tears. Candids that show emotion are timeless.

Photograph all of it.

Don’t just photograph the big moments. Photograph guests as they arrive, cooks in the kitchen, a touch football game in the backyard, and sleepy kids after all the gifts have been opened and the day is done. Each family has different traditions that will be passed down. Photographing those traditions create a family timeline that endures.

Open up your aperture.

Let in as much light as you can! Larger apertures (such as f/2 or f/4) can help you shoot in dimly-lit rooms and be creative with a shallow depth of field.

Get outside.

Especially if you live somewhere snowy! Shooting inside can be tough with all the different colored light sources and cluttered backgrounds. Take a group photo outside or photograph outside activities like building a snowman or picking out a Christmas tree.

Step back …

Get the whole family in the shot. Everyone sippng hot chocolate around the fire, kiddos opening presents or playing games. The interaction between everyone together is what it’s all about.

and then get close.

Details, details, details. Photograph the colors, the place settings, the decorations, the food!

Use your self-timer.

You’re a part of the celebration, too! Don’t forget to put yourself in the photos.

Now make sure to bring your camera to your holiday gatherings and capture those litle moments that you will treasure forever.

Happy Photographing and Happy Holidays!


  • Quinn Hegwood

    Quinn Hegwood is one of RMSP's core instructors, specializing in printing and social media. She enjoys photographing people in their natural habitat, primarily mothers and children, and she is on a constant search for light. Quinn is passionate about helping students to discover the artist within themselves.