6 Unique Christmas Tree Photo Ideas

If your Christmas tree is the focal point of your home during the holidays, you’ll probably end up photographing it repeatedly over the years. At some point, you may start to wonder how this year’s tree photo will look any different from the previous years. How can you make your Christmas tree snapshot unique?

You don’t need to buy new ornaments or rearrange your living room to get a special picture. Here are a few Christmas tree photo ideas to jumpstart your creativity and capture an image that stands apart from the rest.

Go bokeh.

Using bokeh for background Christmas lights is obvious, but what about the whole tree itself? Depending on your expectations, you can take this shot in a few seconds or spend an hour trying to get a perfect picture. You have to find that sweet spot between too much and too little bokeh.

A blurred Christmas tree can also be fun to edit. You can add text, play with cropping, and experiment with different shades and moods. The simplicity of the image can make every change noticeable and interesting.

shutterdose – Christmas Tree Bokeh
shutterdose - Christmas Tree Bokeh

xstc – Xmas Bokeh
xstc - Xmas Bokeh

jordan parks – twinkle
jordan parks - christmas tree bokeh twinkle

Use it as a background for portraits.

Unlike objects, people and animals are unpredictable. Even if you took the same portrait every year in front of the Christmas tree, you’d still end up with a set of unique pictures. Their clothes, expressions, and hairstyles could all change. If nothing else, they’d be older.

You don’t even need to enlist friends or family to be in the photo. Just take a self-portrait. If you don’t like photographing yourself, draw a stick person and use it as a model instead. It’ll be a photo worth keeping.

Michael Minella – Addison’s First Christmas
Michael Minella - Addison's First Christmas

Elliott Cowand – Christmas caroling
Elliott Cowand - Christmas caroling family

Christopher – Christmas Card
Christopher - Christmas Card

Try a different angle.

Above, below, and sideways (for a crooked photo) are all options worth exploring. You can also experiment with reflections. For example, try photographing the tree using a mirror or cup of coffee. Anything that changes the angle or perspective of your tree is worth trying out. Glasses, water drops, a glass cup, etc.

Melinda Szente – Christmas hurry
Melinda Szente - Christmas hurry

Greg Zehe – Christmas Reflection
Greg Zehe - Christmas Reflection

Ric – Merry Christmas!
Ric - Merry Christmas!

Focus on the ornaments.

Photographing ornaments is a great way to practice your macro photography skills. It also opens up a whole new set of possibilities. You can experiment with different compositions and lighting, try to capture interesting reflections, and even take a self-portrait.

While you won’t get a grand picture of your tree this way, you will get a batch of cool photos that show the details of your tree. These details can be as special as the tree itself. After all, they’re what make your tree a Christmas decoration, instead of a big, indoor plant.

Linus Wärn – The Christmas Selfie
Linus Wärn - The Christmas Selfie

Carina – The decorations was hung
Carina - The decorations was hung

Julie Rideout – Red Ornament with Christmas Tree Bokeh
Julie Rideout - Red Ornament with Christmas Tree Bokeh

Take a long-exposure.

If you’ve never taken a long-exposure, your Christmas tree can be a good place to start. Unlike outdoor long exposures, you have fewer things that can go “wrong”. Clouds won’t suddenly block your subject, for example. You won’t need to brave freezing weather or protect your camera from rain or snow. You’re indoors, comfortable, and relatively in control of your environment.

Besides that, Christmas trees can produce awesome abstract long exposures. You can spin the tree, zoom in/out, or play with other lights around the tree. All you need is time, creativity, and family/friends who promise not to touch your camera.

Carina – maybe too fast??
Carina - maybe too fast??

Nate Hughes – Music Room Spinning Tree
Nate Hughes - Music Room Spinning Tree

Yane Naumoski – Dazzling welcome to 2014
Yane Naumoski - Yane Naumoski - Day 364: Dazzling welcome to 2014

Capture the setting.

Your Christmas tree may look similar to dozens of other ones, but your home is special. You can’t find the same arrangement of decorations, furniture, lighting, and people anywhere else. To make your photo unique, simply stand back and capture this setting.

If you’ve already done that in previous years, try focusing on a specific part of setting. For instance, you can photograph the couch, the fireplace, or a nearby door with the Christmas tree as a background. It’s like taking a portrait, only with objects instead of people.

Robert “OP” Parrish – Tree Fire

T. Faltings – Waiting for Christmas Eve
T. Faltings - Waiting for Christmas Eve

TroyMarcyPhotography.com – Family Holiday Movie Time
TroyMarcyPhotography.com - Family Holiday Movie Time

All of the above photos were selected from our Flickr group. If you get an incredible photo of your Christmas tree this year, share it with us so we can admire your work!