So today’s tip is not so much about decorating as it is about capturing images of your holiday decorating. Maybe that’s a cheat on my part but I wanted to write about it and so here we are!
So here’s the most important part of the tip: Turn off your flash.
I drive my family and friends crazy with this. But it was something my great friend Andrew – a professional photographer – told me years ago and it’s something I practice now in nearly all situations.
The flash on your camera – particularly those on point-and-shoot cameras and smart phones – just wash everything out.
Also, the flash makes everything appear the same color. And in life, that’s just not the way things look.
Yes. Sometimes – especially when photographing Christmas decorations – you can end up with pictures too dark.
That’s why you have to experiment. Turn on a lamp in the room to cast a little more – but not too much – light on your greenery.
Light some candles. Or play with the settings on your camera just a bit. Or change your angle to incorporate just a few more Christmas bulbs. You’ll be surprised what you can do if you’re creative.
The photos in this post were taken with a basic point-and-shoot camera during a get together at the home of my friends, Keith & Joe, who go all out with their gorgeous decorating. The décor is fancy. The camera and the photography was not.
Here’s another tip: Get closer.
Of course, you want to back up enough to get a sense of what your decorations look like overall. But your best shots will almost always be close ups. The pictures above and below – of single decorations on Keith & Joe’s trees – is so much prettier than the picture of their entire tree, where the details are just lost.
Still… don’t ignore the whole tree.
And if you turn off the flash, it can be a pretty one.
Try to put the tree in some perspective. Show a little bit of what’s around it – like the fireplace in the photo at right.
Years down the road, you’ll be happy that you can see where the tree was located and what else you decorated in the room.
OK. I have to admit: While the camera you use for these types of photos isn’t that important, you will want to do a little playing around in the computer.
Never fear. This doesn’t need to be hard.
For most things, I skip the big, fancy Photoshop program and go straight to the free Google program called Picasa, which is available for the Mac or PC. Of course, if you have a Mac, you can just use iPhoto.
The key is to play around with the light and shadow, the contrast, and some special effects.
That’s the way I do it.
So before you put away all your Christmas decorations, make sure to take some photos.
Do it at dusk, when there’s a little bit of light coming in but you’ve only got your Christmas lights on.
I took the photos at my friends’ house when it was completely dark, which takes away some of your options.
But still, I like the way they turned out.
Of course, the close ups really are my favorites. And it helps when you have beautiful decorating like Keith & Joe have.
I can’t resist showing you a few more pictures from Keith & Joe’s house. They deserve to have their gorgeous decorating shown off!