'Tis the season to capture holiday magic

By Lisa Reid

21 November 2022

Lit Christmas tree in the evening
Camana Bay’s magical Christmas tree lights. Photo: Tom Williamson

It still seems far away, but guess what? The holidays are nearly upon us! We all know how quickly those last few weeks before the festive season fly by, so it’s time to get prepared, which includes your Christmas photography!

Here are a few tips on how to perfectly capture the beauty of Christmas this year.

Get outdoors
The holiday season is the most exciting time to take photographs, especially because of the captivating and imaginative decorations (including Christmas lights) and the festive mood felt by whole communities. Here in Cayman, some of the most spectacular views can be found at night. Just think of Camana Bay's Christmas Tree Lighting or the phenomenal light show at the Boddens' home in South Sound and the Crighton house on Shamrock Road.

The most wonderful time of the day
Although holiday lights appear best at night, the best time to photograph them is actually at twilight. This is because at twilight there is enough light in the sky to be able to define tree branches, the roof lines and other details. Start shooting about 15 minutes after sunset and then take a shot every five minutes thereafter to get an ideal balance of skylight and the holiday lights.

Keep it steady
If you're driving or walking around and snapping shots of holiday lights, try to find ways to stabilise your camera. Since you can’t use flash when capturing Christmas lights (as it would blow out all the beautiful ambient light) you need to stabilise the camera. Put it on a wall or a chair to help you keep it steady while increasing your exposure, if you don’t have a tripod or camera selfie stick.

Think outside the box
Sometimes we become so stuck in our routine that we forget to think outside the box and be more creative. With cityscapes or skylines, you have a lot of variety around to consider how you can capture as many different angles as possible. In Camana Bay, for example, try going up the Observation Tower or venturing to the Island to take photos of the tree from a different perspective. Sometimes looking straight up or trying some funky angles can provide an interesting perspective; looking for reflections in the water or buildings can also produce a dramatic look and often helps to create a really unique image.

It’s in the details
Most smartphones now have a portrait mode. Use this feature to take some close-up shots of your favourite decorations or your kids in front of a lit-up tree — it puts your main subject in focus and creates that beautiful blurred out bokeh of lights in the background.

Lisa Reid and Tom Williamson are photographers at Blank Canvas. To see more of their work, please visit www.blankcanvascayman.com.

This article was originally published in the November 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

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