As Christmas is getting closer, we’re presented with many photo opportunities that are too good to pass. Throughout the year, we have shared tips and insights for various kinds of photography, so we thought now would be a good time to practice and test your photography skills.
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Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Photo Challenge!
This series of challenges are designed to test your skills in photography, not just the technical bits but also the creative ones. We hope these challenges not only inspire you to take more photos but also give you insight into the areas where your strengths and weaknesses lie so you know what to improve next year.
Let this Christmas series of photo challenges begin!
1. Holiday lights
This is the season where strings of lights are everywhere as a part of grand decorations. Get creative with the lights and create something extraordinary with it. If you like an advanced challenge, get inspired by photographer Irene Rudnyk and try creating whimsical portraits using Christmas lights.
What you might find useful: low light photography tips.
2. Creative self-portrait
Phone selfies have given self-portraits a bad reputation. It’s a shame because self-portrait is an art in itself. It takes skills, good technique, and creative minds to produce an amazing self-portrait.
Before taking a self-portrait, ask yourself what you want to show off yourself and how you want to show it. Maybe you want to show a romantic side of you with lights and tone, or maybe you want to show your adventurous and imaginative self with some crazy props or location. It’s all up to you.
Many photographers can capture good photos, but it takes skills and patience to capture beautiful, emotive interactions between people. This holiday, go out and look around to find the beautiful moments shared by strangers. Click the interactions between mother and kids, siblings, or a couple, and capture the joy in the air.
If you’re looking to shoot a couple, these couple photography tips can help give you insights on the technical and practical matters.
4. Festive food
This month is all about celebration, festivity, and having fun. There will be lots of popup markets and family gatherings, and of course, delicious dishes. Many people take photos of their food these days, but only some can make it looks scrumptious and mouth-watering. Practice your photography skills to take food photos that make people want to dig in!
Find the secrets to do it with these food photography tips.
5. The beauty in an obscure place
Recently, photographer Jenna Martin challenged herself to take beautiful portraits in mediocre places. The results are stunning, and it proves that you don’t always need beautiful space to create amazing photos. With some creative ideas and good skills, even the ugliest places can look great as a background. This challenge is good to let your creativity run free and to improve your portrait photography skills.
Do you have a family tradition for the holiday? Take a moment to step back and reflect, ‘What’s something that I look forward to each year? What’s the thing I love the most about it?’ Find the answer and ask yourself, ‘How can I make it look natural and pleasing in the photos? What should I focus on?’
Create a photo that strikes a balance between unique and familiar; it has to be extraordinary, but at the same time, you want to look at it and be reminded of the comforting tradition that you love. This one is for the memory as much as for the learning process.
7. Inside the house
Sometimes we’re so used to look for interesting subjects outside the house, that we forget the things closest to us can be turned into amazing images so long as we add a twist. Pick something and find a way to make it an interesting subject for your photo. If you can tell a story with that in your photo, even better!
If you need some ideas, have a look at Sara Tasker’s photos, in which she manages to tell stories through simple things around her house.
8. Christmas scene in your town
Christmas decorations, Christmas lights, festive events, and joyful shoppers and are what make December feel so merry. Christmas scenes are different in one place to another, and as to how you interpret it, it’s up to you. You can capture your town’s landmark bathed in the holiday lights, the decorations at local malls, or even the shopping frenzy at high street stores.
9. Unusual angle
The thing that differentiates good and great photographers are how they see and frame their subjects. Top gear and good skills can create aesthetic photos, but it’s the new way of seeing things that makes a photo stand out.
An unusual angle will make a mark and leave a lasting impression, so train your eyes to find unique perspectives on ordinary subjects. For inspiration, take a look at Zaid Salman’s Instagram account, where he posts incredible photos that combine skills and imagination.
10. Family moment
The holiday season is the time when the family gathers. A family gathering can be a bit chaotic, but it also provides you with plenty of opportunities for good photos. Get your camera out and hunt for heartwarming ‘family moment’ photos. Whether it’s candid or not, make sure it captures your family holiday spirit.
Tip: Check out this family photography guide to help you tackle the technical and practical matters in photographing family, especially if there’s a big group involved. If you’re looking to capture kids, check these kids’ photography tips from the experts.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear ‘reflection’? Most people will think of mirrors but go beyond that. Take photos using a surface of calm water, baubles, a glass window, or any other reflective objects. The more uncommon, the better!
12. Multiple exposures
Everybody always has fun playing with multiple exposures, and it’s also a good opportunity to be as creative as you can. You can create multiple exposure photos using the particular setting or tool in the camera, or process the images later in Photoshop.
Just like with other skills in photography, experimenting and practicing is the key to improvement. But for this one, you also need to have a concept or at least a vision of the image you want to create. If you’re a beginner, this article explains the basics of multiple exposures, with a few tips to help you start.
Let’s get ready for this and happy clicking!