How to Capture the Perfect Christmas Tree Photo

Tech Tips

How to Capture the Perfect Christmas Tree Photo

This time of year, there are so many opportunities for great photographs. We cherish holiday memories of loved ones, and those twinkly lights are irresistible to little kids—and OK, to us too. You may not realize it, but you can capture professional-quality images of kids and trees, without the tears. Try these tips!

First, think about your objective. Do you want to capture the tree itself? To show off how it looks in your room? To capture the spirit of the season with some closeups of particular ornaments or decorations? Or include kids or other family members?

  1. If you’re including a child or a pet in your photo, they’re the most complicated part. Take several practice shots without your subject to get the lighting and other effects just right, then add kids and pets for the final few shots.
  2. You might enjoy your Christmas tree best in a semi-dark room, and that can make for lovely photos, too. Turn your flash off, and try some pics that way. Whether you have a mobile or regular camera, stabilize the camera with a tripod or on a piece of furniture to avoid blur in the low-light setting. If you need additional lighting, put a lamp to the side, just out of the frame, instead of using harsh overhead lighting.
  3. Consider bokeh (pronounced BOW-keh), a favorite holiday photo effect that blurs out the background—turning your Christmas tree lights into glowing orbs. If you have a camera that lets you control aperture and shutter speed, there are several tutorials online to make bokeh easy. We like this one, with plenty of inspiring holiday images to get you going!

But you don’t have to have a fancy camera to create the bokeh effect.  These apps can help:

  • For Android devices, the free Google Camera app now comes with a bokeh feature you can apply after you’ve taken the photo. (Try the Tilt-Shift section of your photo editor in Google Camera.)
  • For iPhone, Camera+ ($2.99) lets you focus on an item in the foreground with its macro effect, blurring out the background.

Have fun trying these techniques that are sure to help you spread holiday cheer … and create beautiful memories too!