Use this holiday break to experiment with your photography
5. Take time to reflect
While unpacking the Christmas decorations, why not grab a bauble and head out to capture some creative still lifes. That curved, shiny surface gives you a whole new way to capture a seasonal scene. Whether you’re faced with a winter wonderland or a brightly lit cityscape, this fun technique provides a unique and very festive perspective.
Capturing a scene in this way involves some incredibly wide angles due to the spherical surface of the bauble. It can also be quite tricky to get the scale correct; we were able to capture the entire west end of Bath Abbey quite comfortably in the frame, despite shooting only a few metres from the walls. But persevere, and you’ll have a unique Christmas reflection in no time at all.
Step-by-step: Deck the tree
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1. Look behind you
Look for interesting backgrounds opposite strong subjects – your bauble will be between the two. We hung our bauble from a small Christmas tree to reflect the well-lit Abbey, and used the warm orange arches of the arcade behind as the background.
2. Hide your camera
Put your camera on a tripod, focused on the reflection. A tripod allows you to set a longer exposure after dark, fine-tune your composition, and remove your own reflection from the shot. Try to disguise the camera within the image – if there’s a dark area, hide it within the shadows.
3. Walk away
We used ISO200 to keep the quality up and f/5.6 to blur out the background, along with tungsten white balance to correct the colour cast from the street lights. Switch your drive mode to 10-second timer so that you can press the shutter release and the move away.
Phil Hall is an experienced writer and editor having worked on some of the largest photography magazines in the UK, and now edit the photography channel of TechRadar, the UK's biggest tech website and one of the largest in the world. He has also worked on numerous commercial projects, including working with manufacturers like Nikon and Fujifilm on bespoke printed and online camera guides, as well as writing technique blogs and copy for the John Lewis Technology guide.