It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

The magic of Christmas is amplified when you have little ones at home. Maybe you are heading to the Missouri Botanical Gardens for the Garden Glow, or perhaps over to the St. Louis Zoo for Wild Lights! There are so many places around the metro area for fantastic holiday experiences this year!

No matter where you are, at home or around town, this guide will help you make the most of these magical backdrops!

*Note, all of these photos are unedited, so they are straight from my camera or my phone!

1. DON’T turn off all the lights and take the photo at night. Those rarely turn out well. Instead, take the photo in the middle of a sunny afternoon. DO try to use natural light from a window or door if possible. My living room is a bit of a dungeon, but we still made it work!

St. Louis Photographer

It doesn't seem very magical, does it? Don't worry, it will be!

2. DON’T stand your child right in front of the tree. DO move them 3-4 feet in front of the tree, and just off center. This distance creates an effect known as bokeh, where the lights on the tree are out of focus, bigger, and brighter.

This is a visual definition of BOKEH, and the look we are going for.

Here is my little, standing too close to the tree.

Here he is, standing several feet away from the tree! MUCH BETTER!

A few more helpful tips!

  • Stand CLOSER to your subject. The closer you are, the more dreamy that background will be!
  • Don't use any kind of flash! It will overpower the lights on your tree!
  • If you are using a cell phone, this is the perfect time to use whatever portrait mode you have!

Cell phone photo right against the tree.

Portrait mode, standing several feet in front of the tree!

Wherever you go, have fun with it! I'd LOVE to see your photos if you share them! You can tag me on Facebook @WillowRunPhotography