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family taking selfie outside in front of christmas lit up with lights

How to take perfect holiday photos with your smartphone

Don’t stress about booking a professional photographer for your family holiday photos this year. You have everything you need right in your hand. 

Check out our guide to capturing the perfect winter holiday card photos on your smartphone.

 

woman holding up christmas present as she films herself with smartphone on tripod

Find a location. Find a picturesque spot that fits your whole family. Some popular sites include the fireplace, next to the tree, or your yard. Snow is also a great scene for a winter holiday card. If you’re feeling crafty, attempt to DIY a backdrop using a sheet or holiday wrapping paper. 

Decide what to wear. After picking a location, choose holiday family photo outfits. Get festive with matching holiday sweaters or Santa hats. If you aren’t enthusiastic about matching sweaters, wear seasonal colors that complement one another. Consider deep reds, green, or white and avoid loud patterns that may clash. 

Hold steady. Using a smartphone tripod will make sure your pics are super stable and prevent blurry or out-of-focus shots. A tripod also allows you to take the photos hands-free, so the photo includes everyone. 

Turn off the flash. Smartphone camera flashes can be harsh, so it’s best to turn it off. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible. Find a consistent light source, be it the sun, window, indoor lighting, or someone else’s smartphone flashlight. 

Frame your photo. In iOS, visit settings and select Camera. Enable “grid” to deploy a rule-of-thirds overlay on the Camera app. The grid will help you frame your photo. On Android devices, click Settings>Apps>Camera and select “grid lines.” Choose between a rule-of-thirds overlay or a square overlay, perfect for framing Instagram photos. 

Avoid zooming in. Standing at a distance and zooming in may seem easy, but it can result in photos that appear blurry or grainy. Instead, get closer to your subject and experiment with angles that work. 

 

someone taking photo of family at diner table with smartphone

Tips and Tricks 

  • Use your smartwatch as a remote for your phone’s camera so that you can be in the photo. 

Apple Watch Series 7 allows you to view your iPhone camera, set a shutter timer, take pictures, or switch to video mode. 

Android users can use Samsung Galaxy Watch4 as a remote by downloading the PixtoCam app. It allows you to select a camera, snap a pic, take video, adjust flash settings, and set a timer. 

To connect your smartwatch to your smartphone, simply make sure both devices are within Bluetooth connectivity range.

  • Bring your pets favorite toy and hold it near your phone so it looks like they’re staring right at the camera (this also works for children).
  • Get photos of a beautiful snowy scene by adjusting the exposure. To make the snow appear fresh and bright, tap the screen to set your focus point. Then slide up to brighten your scene or down to darken. 
  • Set your camera to night mode or download an app like Slow Shutter Cam to slow your shutter speed and capture the details of the ambient lights on a festive tree.

 

family taking selfie in front of christmas tree

Choosing the best phone for holiday photos

Start with a great smartphone to capture high-quality photos. The latest 5G smartphones include camera features that make taking beautiful pictures easy.

A few models to consider:

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

The latest device from Apple features its most advanced camera upgrade ever, with 3x optical zoom, an ultrawide camera, and excellent low-light performance. The Night Mode feature makes the device perfect for capturing dimmer scenes so that you can get that perfect photo next to the fire. Shoot in burst mode to capture a series of quick shots one after another to make sure you get several options to choose from. 

Google Pixel 6

Google’s newest phone has an all-new camera for your best photos yet. The 50-megapixel camera has bigger sensors to help capture more color, detail, and 150% more light. Remove photobombers with the Magic Eraser tool. Blur the background to make subjects stand out with portrait mode. The Pixel 6 also features Face Unblur to make faces sharper and Motion Mode to capture action photos in case a snowball fight breaks out mid photoshoot. 

motorola edge 5G UW

Capture sharp, low-light images with the motorola edge. The ultra-wide-angle lens captures the same field of view that your eyes see and fits 4x more of the scene in your frame. The built-in Macro Vision lens brings you 5x closer to your subject to capture every detail. When taking a photo of a bright scene, like snow, use HDR mode to capture all the details. 

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to gather for a family photo and say cheese.

 


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