Capturing the Lights: Christmas photography

Capturing the brilliant lights and smiles of the holidays

It’s that magical time of the year – and no matter what your location or climate during December, there’s one thing that will bring out the awe and wonder of the season: Christmas lights!

Colorful pinpoints of lights twinkling can instantly transform a small corner of a room or a grand display in a yard dancing to Trans-Siberian Orchestra into an enchanted wonderland that captures the imagination and wonder of the holidays.

Modern smartphones make it incredibly simple to take shots of colorfully lit trees and landscape,and with a few hints and tricks you can begin taking those snapshots that you see posted across social media – and feel like a boss doing it!

It’s all in the settings…

Most smartphones have a menu of simple options for taking pics in a variety of situations, including a night mode. The overall lack of lighting coupled with the brightness of dozens of tiny pinpricks of light make this the easiest – and best – option for shooting pictures outside in the dark. If you are inside with the ambient turned down or off, this is a good choice as well. For daytime situations, or a well-lit room, leave your camera option set at auto.


You don’t need all the fancy gadgets that traditional photographers use to capture memorablephotographs, but there is one exception that will take your pictures to the next level – a star filter.

These small, round discs are the secret to creating those bewitching streaks from around light sources. About the size of a quarter, you can hold them over your smartphone’s camera lens – or use a piece of tape to temporarily hold the filter in place.

Wait for it…

Next to the anticipation of ripping into the colorfully-wrapped gifts at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning, keeping our little ones from squirming while taking pictures runs a close second. Simply keeping your smartphone still while taking snapshots is the key to stepping up to the next level. Bracing against a doorway or other inanimate – and immovable – object will keep your images crisp and colors true.

Say “cheese”…

The holidays aren’t complete without pictures of friends and family opening gifts or gathered around the tree to share the memories. Take a step back from traditional portraits by snapping wide shots while holding the camera high for interesting angles, down low and shooting up at your subjects, or between branches of the tree for spectacular framing of the shot, for unique photographs that capture memories as unique as the moment. Don’t forget – candid shots are the best, so look for the sleepy feet padding into the room, or uninhibited laughter for incredible memories to last a lifetime.

Taking photographs to capture all the special memories with family and friends can be simple and easy. Sharing those memories in a tangible way is now even easier with Snaptotes custom photo products. From a gallery wrapped canvas print for displaying your photography with a utilitarian-chic twist, to our amazing Holiday Collection to share with family across the miles, Snaptotes helps to keep your precious memories with you.


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