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Photography Tips: How To Take Christmas Card Photos At Home

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Expert tips from some of the city’s best photographers.

Sending Christmas cards with all the members of the family every year has become a much-awaited festive ritual. Usually, this is the ideal time to book a photoshoot with a professional photographer (and Hong Kong has many talented ones!). This year though, things are looking different. Your favourite shoot location may be restricted (we can’t wait for beaches to reopen!) and some of the family photographers are only taking on limited bookings. In case you aren’t able to book a photoshoot with Hong Kong’s best, we got them to give you photography tips and ideas to help you capture lovely family moments yourself. Take a look at some of the images they have captured of their own family, friends and favourite clients at home.

Read more: The Best Hong Kong Backdrops For Family Christmas Cards

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Tips From By Janelle Photography

  • Photography is all about lighting. If you would like to have a photo where grandparents can actually see their grandkids’ faces clearly, then it’s important to have a large uniform source of light hit directly on the subjects. A simple example is everyone facing the window.
  • Most smartphones have excellent cameras and you can pick up a tripod/stand with a Bluetooth remote for less than $200 to have a DIY family portrait at home.
  • Try to be colour coordinated in your outfits. Besides red for the holidays, blue has also been a popular choice in the past 2 to 3 years, thanks to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! The key idea is to pick a colour theme so the photo looks more unified and professional. If you have a big family, you can even mix and match two theme colours to make the photos look more interesting.

Janelle is nearly booked until the end of the year because she has reduced the numbers of client visits to practice social distancing. If the COVID situation improves, she plans to offer a Christmas mini family photo session. Mention this article to get a 10% discount.

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Tips From Sakshi Verma

  • Instead of getting a family shot (which requires someone else to take your pictures or using the timer), you could make a collage of individual shots and lay them out together for a Christmas card.
  • Create a tidy corner in your home and add accents (flowers, lamps, etc.). You could have a picture of the kids snuggling in bed reading a Christmas storybook too. White linen, red/white/green pyjamas, a Christmas storybook and even a teddy wearing a mask! I do foresee a lot of Christmas card pictures with families in masks this year. Sad as that sounds, it shall be a reminder of this exceptional apocalyptic year. Fingers crossed, people shall be able to see the lighter side of these pictures very soon.
  • Alternatively, do an outdoor shoot with a professional photographer. While beaches are not yet an option, country parks do not require you to wear masks.

Sakshi is currently offering outdoor family shoot sessions, done with a long lens. Shots are done at 2m plus distance at locations that don’t mandate wearing a mask. She also does shoots at clients’ homes, subject to them having a clear travel history. Contact her for more details.

christmas home photography tips from ayelen alcover

Tips From Ayelen Alcover

  • Look for a room with the best natural light at your place — this could be your bedroom, living room, the kids’ room. Try to shoot between 11am and 4pm because it is the time when more light gets into the house.
  • Ask everyone to sit or do something for the shot. For example, ask the children to pretend to be Santa Claus, or the dad to play with some of Xmas decorations. These give nice energy to the shots. Also, always choose emotion and connection over perfection.
  • While composing the image, remember to leave some negative space to add the text for your card.
  • Try to go green and send online Xmas cards this year, there are tons of options.

Ayelen is offering Xmas mini shoot sessions this year in November. Because of the COVID situation, these will take place outdoors with adequate distancing.

Read more: Fun And Creative Elf On The Shelf Ideas

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Tips From Denice Hough

  • First, decide what type of photo you want. A clean one or one with lots of props and energy.
  • If you want a simple photo, find the cleanest location in your flat. Maybe an empty wall, or use your Christmas tree to create a beautiful backdrop. Sometimes I’ve hung a sheet to create a clean background (look at the picture above) – this is especially helpful in small apartments.
  • If you want a lot of energy and things in the photo, then you can hold up props like presents or put plants or ornaments in the foreground in front of you. This will help create depth in the photo.

Denice is offering Christmas photoshoots for families. And there’s a special discount for Sassy Mama readers. Get in touch with her to know more.

Tips from DRF Photography

  • Look for decoration items and accessories in one of the shops in the Pottinger Street or in Sham Sui Po. These could be Santa hats, fun glasses, deer noses, pretty headbands and so on…
  • Nowadays you can make simple but lovely cards yourself with the help of free apps such as Canva.
  • For beautiful customised print options, check Biscuitmoondesigns and send your greetings from Hong Kong.

After the success of last year, Delphine of DRF Photography is offering special holiday mini sessions again this year and will have a collaboration with Biscuitmoondesigns. Get in touch to book an outdoor photoshoot with your family.

Read more: Where To Buy Christmas Cards And Last Surface Mail Postal Dates In 2020

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Tips From Anna Maria Studio

  • Create a shot list. Depending on your specific family set up, try to capture a range of images (parents alone, a parent with each child, parent with both children, whole family, etc.). 
  • For the whole family shot, you can set up a tripod and position yourselves comfortably on a couch or bed. Try to position yourselves quite closely together (look above). Of course, you will always capture the “looking straight at the camera with big smiles” photo but once this is done try looking at each other, tickle your kids or kiss your partner. Set your camera to take a shot per second and just have some fun!
  • To edit your photos, I recommend downloading the Lightroom mobile app and installing a Lightroom preset with warm skin tones. There are lots of easy tutorials online on how to do this.
  • I always recommend people to print their photos and display them on the wall – all the time and energy you have spent on getting the perfect shot deserves to be seen! Check out Mixtiles for easy print and display solutions.

Maria of Anna Maria Studio is accepting shoots with a limited number of people at clients’ homes. She always offers to postpone the shoot date or give a full refund if a shoot is cancelled due to restriction (especially because a lot of civil ceremonies were pushed back or cancelled because of changing rules).

Tips From VSB Photography

  • Choose a good spot and style it for the occasion.
  • I’m a big fan of adventures and new locations, so I would encourage families to take their family shoots outdoors, make it fun by picking Christmas props.
  • Avoid back-lit places and if going outdoors, avoid overly bright spots.
  • Select a location that you and your family feel comfortable to pose in. And allow spontaneity to occur.

Veronica of VSB Photography is also offering Christmas shoots for families. Get in touch with her to know more.

Read more: Sassy Mama’s Guide To Family Photographers In Hong Kong

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images, image 1 courtesy of By Janelle Photography, image 2 courtesy of Sakshi Verma Photography, image 3 courtesy of Ayelen Alcover Photography, image 4 courtesy of Denice Hough Photography, image 5 courtesy of Anna Maria Studio.

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