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Santa's Photo Tips
by S. Claus


I can’t wait for December when it’s once again time to meet so many lovely children! I really enjoy listening to them tell me what they’d like to get for a Christmas present. The Moms and Dads always seem to want to get a special photo of me with their kiddos, but alas, sometimes it doesn’t work out as planned. So here’s my advice on getting a picture perfect memory of us together.

  • Please bring your child to meet me a couple of times before the big day when you plan to have our photo made together. Since the children only see me once a year sometimes they are a little overwhelmed when we actually meet. I do hope they don’t think of me as a stranger!
  • Be sure that your kiddos are not hungry or sleepy. Sometimes the lines to meet me can really be long. I suppose I really should be flattered, but it’s awfully difficult for the little ones to wait.
  • Parents, be ready to snap a wonderful photo when you do finally make it to the front of the line. Even though you’ll get a great posed photograph from the photographer on hand, I tend to believe that some of the sweetest photos are the candid ones you take when I first get to meet your child.

Christmas LightsAnother reason I love this happiest time of the year is all those colorful Christmas lights! But getting a good shot at night can be a challenge, even for me. Follow a few of these tips for using your digital SLR camera and I’m sure you’ll get some wonderful photographs.

  • One of the most important pieces of photographic equipment you’ll need for night photography is a tripod. Since exposure time is typically long, it’s impossible to achieve good results and avoid blur using the hand-held method. You may select a full sized tripod, or even use one of those gorillapods that easily attach to a fence or tree. But whatever you choose, a tripod is a must! The exception would be if you purposefully want a blurred image. I’ll have to admit that I’ve gotten some pretty wild photos while riding in my sleigh!
  • Another useful item would be a cable release. A cable release allows you to fire the camera without actually touching it – another way to avoid that dreaded blur! Instead of the cable release, you could also use the self-timer on your camera. Either way you should get good, non-blurred results.
  • Now for the most important part – what settings to use! If you’ve ever tried to take a photo of Christmas lights with your camera on the auto or program mode, you were likely a bit disappointed. The lights may show up fairly well, but the rest of the photo was probably way too dark to see any detail at all. So we must get more light to through the lens! Simply set your camera on the manual mode and then you’ll be able to adjust both the aperture and the shutter speed. First, you should select the largest possible opening for the lens you are using. This can be achieved by using the smallest aperture, or f number, in your camera settings. Then you should just play a bit with different shutter speeds. You may get the results you desire by selecting a ½ second shutter speed. If not, keep increasing the time of the exposure. Success will ultimately depend on many conditions as well as your personal likes and dislikes. That’s one of the wonderful advantages to digital photography. You can literally see what you’ve got in a flash!

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my photo tips and I trust they will be of some value to you. If you see me this season, be sure to say hello! Mrs. Claus, the Elves, Rudolph and the rest of my reindeer wish you all a very Merry Christmas, indeed!

Click here to download a printable version of Santa's Photo Tips.

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