When I think of Christmas portraits, my first thought is a person awkwardly standing in front of a Christmas tree in an ugly sweater. Maybe because all my childhood Christmas photos look like that. But, if you’d like to avoid that, it’s time to get creative and give your Christmas portraits a professional look. In this short and sweet video, Tajreen and Chloe of Tajreen&Co will show you how. With a couple of cheap props and a simple setup, you can take modern, festive portraits even in a small home studio.
Tajreen and Chloe suggest four ides and use quite a simple setup for all photos. There’s a speedlight reflected off a huge silver umbrella, and a reflector under the camera to fill in the shadows. They used a green backdrop, and of course – you can go with any color you like. Some portraits were taken in-camera, while for the others they had to rely on some Photoshop magic. But in all four cases, they ended up with cute, modern portraits that look nothing like those cringe-worthy Christmas portraits many of us have in our family albums. In fact, you can use these setups to shoot even commercial photos.
This is what the girls came up with:
- Let it snow – Use large white confetti and throw them in front of the backdrop for a couple of photos. Then, shoot your portraits and composite all the confetti “snow” in Photoshop. The reason for compositing is that it’s pretty difficult to get a lot of confetti in the air while posing at the same time. But if there’s someone to help you out, you can probably do it in-camera.
- Tinsel town – Use a silver tinsel curtain and tape it onto the backdrop in a cascade form. It will look a bit like a ski slope, and it adds a festive look to the photos.
- Ribbon aura – The girls used three wide, colorful ribbons to create loose concentric arcs around the subject. This adds to the festive look of the portraits but also frames the subject nicely.
- Presents of mind – The final idea includes some compositing like the first one. Wrap a couple of presents and photograph them individually against the backdrop. Capture your subject(s) after that, and then bring the photos together in Photoshop for some “flying presents” effect.
I am generally thrilled when it’s the holiday season, but I gotta admit that I don’t really feel the “Christmas spirit” this year. Maybe it’s because of the very high temperatures we’ve had here in Serbia this December, so I don’t feel like it’s winter. However, these ideas have sparked my imagination, and I might try some of them for self-portraits and family portraits. So, even if you are being a Grinch (like me) at the moment, make sure to watch the video. You might feel excited about holidays, and you’ll certainly get inspired for some festive portraits.