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Tips On Photographing Christmas Decorations

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Category: Close-Up

Photographing Christmas Decorations - Have a go at close-up photography this Christmas and capture some of the decorations hanging on your tree and around your home.

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Photo by cattyal


  • Close-up or macro lens if you're using a DSLR
  • If you're a compact user make sure you switch your camera to macro mode so it knows you're going to be focusing at close distances
  • Tripod – helps keeps shots steady when working in low light


White balance

When working indoors photos can end up having a slightly warmer, orange tint to them because of the light your house lights produce. If you find this to be a problem switch from auto white balance to one of the other presets (Tungsten should work fine) or to manual. If you forget to check your white balance you can always adjust your images during post production if you shot in RAW.

Low light

Working indoors, particularly when shooting in between Christmas tree branches, can result in your camera using slower shutter speeds which means you'll need a tripod handy to stop shake spoiling your shot. Using your camera's self-timer will also stop any movement you've caused by pressing the shutter button affecting your image. If you want to work hand-held you can use a higher ISO and switch to a wider aperture to let more light in. This will also mean your backgrounds are nicely thrown out of focus, leaving the focus on your Christmas decoration.

Watch where you stand

Many ornaments are quite reflective so do check them to make sure your reflection isn't showing in them. This does mean you'll have to adjust your position or move the ornament if you do find your face to be in shot.


Look for interesting decorations that have plenty of colour and detail. Decorations that tell a story and have meaning such as those made by children at school will always have a place in the family photo album or even on a card to send out to people the following year.

If you can, focus on one decoration rather than a large collection of them as having more than one focal point can mean the viewer can end up searching the photo for something to focus on. If your tree is really too full try taking a few decorations off it to create a Christmas still life.

Back on the tree, colourful Christmas lights can create interesting bokeh for your backgrounds and leave subtle spots of colour on decorations which adds another level of interest to your shots.

Don't forget the other decorations that can be found around the house either. Snow globes, bowls of sweets and Poinsettias are all worth a quick photo and sum-up Christmas just as much as a shot of a Christmas tree.

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