A Guide to Christmas Market Photography
Christmas markets are one of the best things about the season, and a festive playground for any photographer! They are full to the brim with everything we love about Christmas; the lights, the bric-à-brac gifts, the calorific treats; and not to forget the potent mulled wine! So, as soon as the markets start to pop up around the country, capture the spirit of Christmas by following these top tips to Christmas market photography!
Shoot in the evening
Have a go at photographing Christmas markets in the evening; low light levels contrasted with colourful Christmas lights will make your merry scene even more magical. To get the best results, use a tripod, or if you do shoot handheld, select a fast shutter speed and a high ISO to avoid a blurry image. A top tip for handheld photography is to make yourself as steady as possible by leaning against a solid object when taking your shot; this will minimise camera-shake and hopefully help your image turn out crystal clear! However, don’t worry if your snap isn’t perfectly sharp, as a little motion blur is a great way to represent the hustle and bustle of your Christmas setting.
Always use Christmas lights as a backdrop, rather than the centrepiece of your image; a straightforward fairy-light shot can turn out a tad boring. Explore the market and find your favourite glistening bauble or gorgeous ornament, and make it pop by using a blurred Christmas-light background! To achieve this blurred effect, use a shallow depth of field by selecting a low F number or setting your camera to Portrait or Macro mode. Look out for other light sources such as fires, candles and lanterns, as they’ll also make for festive backgrounds and will add some warmth to your winter shot.
Christmas markets provide the perfect opportunity to capture some amazing portrait shots: the markets are packed with people from all walks of life; all eating, drinking and having fun, and the anonymity of a crowd means you can catch some beautifully candid moments! When photographing people, always focus on your subjects’ eyes and select a fast shutter speed. Pay extra attention to your festive backdrop when taking people shots; your background should pack a Christmas punch but should not distract from your portrait shot.