Christmas Photography: Before and After Shots

A great way of taking perfect Christmas photography shots is to take pictures before and after the Christmas party. The before and after of each party will take you into the very beginning and very end of the party, so that you have the complete story from beginning to end. If you try to take these shots, then you will be able to pick and choose the best memories from every part of the party.

Before Shots

You will need to take a number of before shots, such as:

  • the food being put onto the table
  • the ornaments being hung
  • the moments just before the guests enter
  • as the host or hostess is running towards the door

The before shots can contain a mixture of portraits (of each guest as they come through the door), scene shots (of the food and the decorations), and action shots (of guests entering, or the cook taking the turkey out of the oven). These all provide texture to the story of the party, and can look great on their own without any assistance. You can practice your macro shots while you are waiting for guests to arrive, and organize things as you wish in order to get the best out of your photographs.

After Shots

After the party, the main thing that the photographer should be concentrating upon is the mess. This is the most likely thing that people will remember from their childhoods--the mix of torn paper and plates and drink cups being discarded across the table. You can usually find some symbolically discarded items, such as a  cup among streamers, or a plate with a Christmas decoration on the top. You should use your macro mode button to get the best from your close-ups of discarded items. This is a good time to get as much done as you can, before you move into the living areas and take photographs of aunts and uncles sleeping away on the sofa, or kids playing with their new toys while eating chocolates.

Getting the Best Shots

The best shots for the party will undoubtedly be candids, where you can have slight imperfections, but it doesn't matter in the general organization of the piece. However, if you try to do still life shots of the aftermath of the party, then you will need to have fairly pristine angles and images. Take care to adjust your settings to meet these expectations.


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