How To Solve Common Holiday Photo Issues

We all want to capture beautiful holiday photos, but the hustle and bustle of December can make it difficult.

Avoid these common issues to capture better photos during your holiday season.

Blurry Photos

We’ve all taken them. The moment is so beautiful but your photo is a blurry mess. The low lights of Christmas time lead to slow shutter speeds and blurred images. Don’t be fooled into believing you can take a great photo just because your camera’s shutter will click.


Ugly Yellow Photos

The scene looks beautiful to you, but your photo is a yellow weird mess. The variety of indoor lights during the holidays can create strange colors in your photos, proving once again that what you see is not what the camera sees.


  • Adjust your white balance to Tungsten. With the variety of lights in most of our homes, you may also want to play with the white balance setting to find the one that works best for you.
  • Shoot in RAW and adjust your white balance in post processing.

Uncooperative Subjects

You’ve found the background you want. You know your settings are right. You’ve thought it through. Then you add your subjects and chaos ensues! Yep, it’s holiday photo time. I’m always amazed how a perfectly lovely family can transform themselves into monsters when the camera comes out.


  • Make it fast and easy. I find the less fuss, direction, and time I take, the easier photos are.
  • Think about what is in it for them to cooperate with you. Older kids you might offer a photo for facebook or cash. Younger kids offer treats.
  • Ask someone non-related to photograph your family if possible. Most family members are better behaved in front of someone else. Most. Not all.
  • Go candid. If all else fails, just sneak the shots when you can. They are more natural and fun anyway.

Grey Snow

Your camera reads the bright snow and says WOW, that’s a lot of light and underexposes, giving you ugly grey snow and under exposed subjects.


  • Overexpose 1  stop.  It seems counter-intuitive, but it works.
  • If your point and shoot has it, use the snow setting.

Boring Photos

Do your photos seems boring compared to other people’s? There is usually one big issue in boring photos. Too much going on in the frame.


  • Pick a strong, interesting subject to focus on.
  • Avoid too much going on in the background of your photo.
  • Move closer to your subjects. Don’t be afraid to fill the frame.
  • Find a different angle.

And my last piece of holiday photo advice…

Avoid comparing. Okay, you know I had to say it. Our home decor is different.  Our lighting is different. Our subjects are different.

Embrace your REAL self this holiday. My house is  not decorated to Pinterest or Martha standards. My family won’t be wearing coordinated Gap clothing. My kitchen wall has a giant hole in it. My house is a construction zone.

That is my REAL. I’m good with that.

What is your holiday photo frustration? I’d love to hear in the comments below.