[Holiday Special] Year-End Shopping, 5 photo ideas to shoot this weekend


[Holiday Special] Year-End Shopping, 5 photo ideas to shoot this weekend

Dear Manfrotto readers, hello!

I’m back with you once again on the Manfrotto Imagine More blog for a new series of photo tutorials – the “Special Holiday” Tutorials” – and the first article: 5 photography ideas to try, starting right away as you head out to do your Christmas shopping.

That’s right dear photographers, 2014’s last tight deadline is approaching, so it’s time to get going this weekend, so you don’t miss out on taking great seasonal photographs.

So that’s why today I’m offering you 5 good ideas to help you start your “Special Holiday Shopping 2014” photo series (it’s kind of a leg up to get you going on your own new photo-taking ideas).

Idea n°1: Photographing the most beautiful Christmas tree in the neighborhood
This is undeniably one of the brightest stars in this year-end holiday season and it’s a must-have for any home with children: the Christmas tree!

Here’s a tip that town halls and businesses have understood very well indeed, so to entice children of all ages to the shopping streets and stores, they challenge one another to see who can set up the Christmas tree that is the tallest and/or the most unique.

So, starting this weekend, grab your camera and take a tour of the nearby Christmas trees and see what great photos you can take.

Tip: set out at a time of day when it’s still daylight, don’t wait for sunset (especially if you don’t have a tripod) because even if Christmas decorations are gorgeous to see at night, they won’t necessarily come out that well in pictures when it’s pitch black outside.


In Hanoi, Vietnam, the traditional year-end holiday tree isn’t the fir tree. No, it’s the kumquat. Above, the photo of a kumquat tree merchant who proudly posed next to the most beautiful tree from his farm.

Idea n°2 : Photograph the sparkling atmosphere in the shops
If you can’t stand massive crowds, going Christmas shopping in department stores or malls is a little like going during the big sales…it’s a real nightmare!

But wait a moment, for tried and true photographers, this situation offers a lot of advantages : this lavish period is an excellent time to depict the frenetic consumerism of our fellow citizens by taking candid photos on the fly, like street photography.

Tip: Photograph hesitant shoppers and make sure you frame the shot with mountains of presents or an avalanche of Christmas decorations around and of course, move in tight, because you’ll want to pull away everything superfluous to capture only the shoppers (and maybe the shopkeepers) and the trappings of Christmas.


In Hanoi’s Old Town of 36 Streets, you’ll find a street that is especially dedicated to holiday items.

Idea n°3: Take pictures of New Year’s decorations
While they used to belong only to the world of fashion and textiles, today the new collections come in styles just for Christmas.

Every year, the manufacturers put out new trends in Christmas bulbs and shiny garland.
So take a moment to take some photos of 2014’s special offerings.

Tip: get up very close to the Christmas decoration you’ve found yourself captivated by, choose the Aperture mode of your camera (scroll until you get to the semi-manual mode A or Av depending on your camera brand) and choose a large aperture, meaning a small number after the F so you get a really nice blur in the background: F 1.2, F1.4, F1.8, F2.8, F3.5… (the brighter your lens, the more you can select a small F).


Photo taken with a Nikon 50mm 1.8 AFS G lens – Exifs : 50mm, F3.5, 1/125s, ISO 200

Idea n°4: Take pictures of those magic moments
Arms loaded down with gifts or carts overloaded with shopping, the special moments during the holidays are everywhere. So take advantage of the crowds to melt into the masses and immortalize the magic (of shopping) at Christmas.

Tip: No need to wander up and down the streets to find those special Christmas moments, you simply need to find the right spot and wait for the subjects to come to you ! For example, if you want to take pictures of shopping carts overloaded with supplies, just position yourself at the entrance to the shopping center or at the top of the pedestrian shopping street, wherever shoppers head for the parking lot.



To take the pictures above, I stood along a street on a Saturday where shoppers and Christmas tree deliverers were passing by on motorcycle or bicycle. So then all I had to do was click to my heart’s content until I got the perfect shot!

Idea n°5: Photograph the old white-bearded gentleman…
At holiday time, there’s like this resurgence of white-bearded men most often located in the toy department of your local stores
I’m sure you’ll agree that a photo series of holiday shopping wouldn’t be complete without taking a picture of the white-bearded gentleman.

Tip: To take a great portrait of Father Christmas, you don’t want to take candid pictures from far away. Go right up to him in the store and ask Santa if you can take his portrait (if you’re embarrassed just say it’s for your daughter, niece, or grandchild…). There’s no way he’ll be able to say no…it’s Christmas after all!


There’s a white-bearded man out there for everyone, but personally I preferred an elegant Asian gentleman, this charming man I met when I was shopping for the holidays in Hanoi…

So there you have it! Our first tutorial for December 2014 has come to an end. I’ll see you next week for more “Special Holiday” photo tips !

Now it’s time for you to talk back and share your comments:

  • What do you think about these tips?
  • Do you have other ideas to share to immortalize the year-end holiday season?

Have you also ever had to move a Christmas tree by motorcycle or bicycle?

Maïeva Voyage

“Women have things to say in the world of photography too!”, that’s the leitmotiv of Maïeva Voyage.
Mingling with passionate and exciting amateur and professional photographers at the Photo Club of Hanoi, Maïeva Voyage developed her photographic techniques.
Here she shares her advice and useful tips on Photo-tuto.fr , her feminine photo blog with fun and off-the-wall tutorials.
For the third time, Maïeva Voyage is the invited author of Manfrotto Imagine More. 
She’ll be on the site throughout the month of December 2014 for the “Special Holiday” tutorials.

Maïeva Voyage on the Web:

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