So your tree is finally, exquisitely decorated. But how will you turn the perfection you see before you into a stunning photo that makes everyone jealous on those Social Networks?
Whether you’ve got an iPhone or an Android phone, the challenge you face will be fitting everything you see in front of you into one picture. You need the room dark so the fairy lights show up, but then whoosh! WHERE’D YOUR TINSEL GO.
You’ve then got the challenge of making your pics stand out on an Insta-feed that’s 84% #Christmastree, and making sure you’ve preserved the right memories for future posterity. Sounds tiring? Don’t you fret, petal – we got this.
A slow exposure will let your phone’s camera drink in all the light it needs to capture the darker areas as well as the illuminated ones. Firstly, turn off that flash, it’ll confuse your camera and ruin everything.
If you have an Android phone, your cameras may well have a ‘Night’ mode to handle low levels of light. Open up your phone’s camera, then tap ‘Settings’ or ‘Mode’ to see if it’s offered.
Most higher-end Android phones let you open up the manual settings yourself – set the ‘shutter speed’ and ISO as low as they can go. See what comes up when you take a picture, and adjust both accordingly.
When taking slowed-down images, you’re going to need to keep your phone as steady as you possibly can – unless, of course, you want to experiment with some ‘light painting’.
If you’re deadly serious about this a tripod will give you the most stability; otherwise sitting or kneeling and holding your phone with both hands will keep everything in place.
If you’re looking to take some Insta-winning pictures of your Christmas tree, it’s worth capturing variations in scale instead of spamming everyone’s feed with practically the same image. Taking some extreme close-ups as well as your standard whole-tree long shots will result in an alluring-looking timeline.
Bonus points for capturing reflections in shiny baubles – when you have the image you’re about to take on your screen, make sure to tap the part you’d like the camera to focus on and your phone will do the rest.
Right now, you’re probably burstingly happy with your beautifully decorated, pristine tree. But picture yourself in 10, 20, even 50 years’ time: it’s the people around the tree you’ll want to see. Even if they’re currently messing up your tinsel arrangement and you’d rather they just left the room right now tbh.
Make sure you get some pictures of your loved ones, and don’t be afraid to let a little chaos into your shots – or at least some of them. You won’t regret it later down the line.
So you’ve captured the twinkling lights and delicate sparkle of your tree – and your loved ones around it. If you’re happy with what you’ve already got, now is the time to play around a bit. Experiment with long exposures with movement chucked into the mix; photograph silhouettes and unexpected angles – you never know what you’ll get out of it.
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