Eight Simple Tips for Great Holiday Photos

Most families have someone who is eager to document festive family fun. If this person happens to be you, here are a few photo tips to help in your quest to capture important memories for the perfect holiday photo album.

Get your gear in order 
Nothing is more frustrating than missing that perfect holiday shot because you’ve run out of battery power or space on your memory card. Your child’s excited reaction to opening his or her gift is priceless and fleeting. If you miss that moment, it’s gone forever.

Tip: Charge your battery the night before. Most point-and-shoot camera batteries will allow you to take around 300 shots, while digital SLRs will capture anywhere from 600-900 shots. For many of us, this is plenty of juice to get the job done. If you think you need more, consider investing in a spare battery (and make sure it’s charged). That way you won’t waste time scouting for a power source or waiting for your battery to recharge.

Invest in a memory card that will meet your photo and video needs. Deciding which size of memory card to purchase is dependent upon many factors including the size of picture files, type of camera, and the number of megapixels on the camera’s sensor. For example, an 8GB card will store approximately 1,600 medium-sized “JPEG normal” images when using a 24-megapixel digital SLR. As a precaution, it’s always a good idea to keep a spare memory card in your camera case or purse.

Get that perfect food pic
Many people love taking and showing off pictures of their holiday feasts. However, making food look as delicious as it tastes can be tricky. You’ve invested significant time into perfecting your dishes, so take the time to capture great photos.

Tip: Play around with natural and artificial light sources to achieve the best light to make that plum pudding look as scrumptious as you know (or hope) it is. Consider using a camera with incredible low-light performance, or even adding a flash unit that allows you to manipulate light by bouncing it off of nearby walls or ceilings. With the right lighting, the colour and texture of food will be captured with everything you remember. For a twist on a traditional “food pic,” get the kids in on the fun. Capture their faces enjoying their favourite treats. Their smiles, and the icing smeared on their faces, will leave no doubt that your sugar cookies are scrumptious!

Get that perfect group shot 
Gathering the little ones in one place and keeping them still is tough. And, the more people you have posing for a photo, the more likely it is that you’ll catch someone with their eyes closed or in mid-sentence.

Tip: Make life easier by using a camera with a high-speed continuous capture mode with a full AutoFocus (AF) mode to track fast-moving subjects to increase your chances of capturing that perfect shot with everyone’s eyes open and focused on the camera. Consider using Smart Photo Selector mode on Nikon 1 cameras. This feature helps capture critical moments other cameras may miss by taking 20 shots with a single shutter press and presenting you with the five best shots. It’s also important to shoot at a high frames-per-second (fps) rate to capture as many shots as possible, ensuring your subjects get back to the holiday revelry ASAP.

Get that perfect angle 
Capturing photo subjects at eye level can really transform a photo. Pictures of your kids playing in the snow will become even more dynamic when a camera lens is placed in the middle of the action.

Tip: When taking pictures of kids and pets, get down to their level. This vantage point will evoke a sense of intimacy in your images and make the action pop. Consider using a camera equipped with a swivel monitor that can tilt, flip and turn to just about any position so you can feel comfortable shooting from almost any angle. Perfect for “selfies” too!

Get that priceless reaction
Sometimes, a still shot just isn’t enough to capture the emotions of moments like trimming the tree or performing in the annual holiday concert at school. Many digital cameras are now built with video-recording capabilities to capture the joy and excitement of the holidays.

Tip: Capture videos to complement your still images. This mix will allow you and your loved ones to re-live all those pleasant memories of the holiday season. Or, consider blending still images with a short video clip by taking advantage of Motion Snapshot technology, exclusive to the Nikon 1 line of digital cameras. This function captures moments by combining motion, stills and sound to create a short, slow-motion video that ends with a single defining still image.

Get the kids snapping!
The holiday season is especially exciting for the little ones – let the magic of the season be seen through their eyes.

Tip: Give yourself a break and let the little ones take the photographer reigns for a bit. You may be surprised by the moments they capture. A durable, easy-to-use point-and-shoot is your best bet (you may not want to hand your HD-SLR over to just anyone!). Consider providing them with a shockproof and waterproof camera like the Nikon COOLPIX S31 as a worry-free, kid-friendly option that will preserve their memories for years to come and add a unique perspective to your holiday album.

Get sharing 
All too often, we capture amazing moments just to have them sit on our memory cards or home computers. Looking through old and new photo collections is fun year-round, but the holidays really make us yearn to share those priceless shots with loved ones.

Tip: Why delay? Share your images with friends, family and your social network on the spot, so they can enjoy your holiday photos while still in the season. Sharing will ensure that your aunt living across the country and your brother halfway around the world feel like they’re a part of your festivities. There are a number of digital cameras with Wi-Fi capabilities that simplify the process of sharing high-quality images on Google+™, Facebook and Twitter, and sending shots directly to your smartphone or tablet. The Nikon D5300’s built-in Wi-Fi makes sharing a breeze, allowing you to wirelessly transfer photos to a smartphone, tablet or PC.

Savour the moment! 
Don’t let the holiday season pass you by because you’re too busy looking at the LCD screen on your camera. Keeping your eyes glued to that screen might cause you to miss out on other photo opportunities or more importantly, precious holiday moments.

Tip: Review your shots after all the action is over! Avoid making a habit out of looking at every photo right after you take it. Simply soak in the moments and take photos when it feels natural.


  1. I can use all the photo tips out there. Really appreciate the one on sharing as we have just started sorting through too many years worth of stacked photos.

  2. These are all great tips! I'll have to pass this along to my daughter who is always glued to her camera taking pictures of everything!

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