Photographing Kids and the Christmas Tree: Beginner Photography Tips

Photographing kids and christmas trees- its one of the classic Christmas photos and probably one you try to achieve every year. And if you’ve tried in the past to get a cute photo of you kids (or pets!) in front of the tree you’ve probably realized it can be a little trickier than you might think!

Here is a simple step by step guide to photographing kids and Christmas trees:

  1. Turn off all other lights in the room except for the Tree lights. When photographing kids and christmas trees you are dealing with at least one wiggly subject!  You may want use the following steps to get your camera settings right before calling your subject over.
  2. Set your Camera to Manual Mode. This will allow you to have full control over the camera settings and prevent the flash from automatically popping up as it will if you have your camera set to any of the auto modes.
  3. Set your ISO as high as it will go. Your ISO is basically telling your camera how sensitive it should be to light entering the camera. Since we are photographing in the minimal light from just the Christmas tree we need to tell the camera to be extra sensitive to the available light. Keep in mind that the higher your ISO the more “noise”  or “grain” will be in your photo.
  4. Open your aperture as wide as it will go. I set mine to f 1.8 but depending on your lens you may not be able to go that low. I love this lens right here:
  5. Put your camera on a tripod or other steady object and then Set your focal point on the tree.
  6. SLOW down your shutter speed to about 1/30th . If you have your camera on a tripod or other steady surface you’ll avoid camera shake and blurry photos even though your shutter speed is so slow.
  7. Call your kids or pets over to the Christmas tree and start snapping. Keep in mind the meter in your camera is going to tell you that your are way overexposed on this photo, but what you should find is a nice bright Christmas tree which lights up your subjects in its glow.

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Once again here were my settings for this photo:

ISO 6400 (push this number up as high as your camera will allow)

f 2.8 (lower your f stop number as low as you can)

1/30th (you want a slow shutter speed to let in as much light as possible)

I’d love to hear from you how it goes as you work on photographing your kids and christmas trees! Be sure to jump into our Facebook Group and share your success or ask your questions!  Join here:

Interested in other tutorials to help you take better photos and document your days this holiday season? Here’s a few of my favs!