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5 Creative Ideas To Capture the Festive Mood of The Winter Season

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Shorter days and longer nights, festive decorations and lights, presents and cards for family and friends, Christmas and New Year celebrations, smell of cinnamon, cloves and oranges, time spent with our loved ones - it all makes the winter Holiday Season a very special time of year. It's also the time to get the cameras out and head in search of more magic photos! Here are some 5 ideas on how to capture festive moods during holiday season to get your started.

1. Start at sunset

Festive illuminations are best seen at lower light and sunset is the best time to start. Whether you are strolling the illuminated streets of your city or town, or photographing your own lovingly decorated home, get your camera ready as the sun starts to go down. Wait for the sky colour to get deeper, richer hues, and notice how illuminations become more pronounced.

Festive moods 1
ISO 800, f/8, 1/200 sec

2. Try various photographic techniques

When you find a particularly appealing subject, try capturing it in several different ways.

Here is a classic view of a merry-go-round against a sunset sky:

Festive moods 2a
ISO 400, f/8, 1/160 sec

Create a mysterious feel by using low depth of field (low f-number) and purposely focusing on something in the foreground, making the lights blur:

Festive moods 2b
ISO 400, f/2, 1/8000 sec

Or use a slower shutter speed to blur the movement and add some dynamics to your image:

Festive moods 2c
ISO 100, f/16, 1/6 sec

When photographing on slow shutter speed, remember to keep your camera steady or bring a tripod.

3. Look for typical signs of holiday season

Think of details that you associate with the festive season. What comes to your mind first? Shiny white snow, a decorated Christmas tree, a cup of hot chocolate by the fire, or maybe some champagne bubbles? Anything works! When photographing at night, remember that illuminations are usually much brighter than the rest of the photo. Stepping down to -1/3 or -2/3 in exposure compensation will help to solve this issue.

Festive moods 3
ISO 2500, f/2.8, 1/60 sec ISO 3200, f/2.0, 1/1250

4. Get closer

To capture the magic and mystery of winter celebrations, take a few close-ups using low depth of field (low f-number) and remember to raise the ISO if you are not using the tripod. Doesn't everything look even more special?

Festive moods 4
ISO 6400, f/2, 1/50 sec

5. Add a sparkle by using "star burst" effect

Set your camera on a tripod and let all those little lights burst into stars! To achieve this effect, set the aperture to a high number, such as f/18 or f/20, and adjust the shutter speed accordingly.

Festive moods 5
ISO 200, f/22, 8 sec

So get your camera ready in search of festive moods in your corner of the world and share your results with us!

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About the Author

Nadia Gric

Nadia Gric

Nadia is passionate about the visual aspect of life and the personalities she meets along the way. Living in the heart of Paris, Nadia never stops exploring the City of Light through her camera and readily shares her knowledge and love for photography.