Photo tips with Emilie: Santa pictures with no Santa

All you need is a…
-Santa Hat (I found mine in the $1 bin at Target)
-White Glove
-Fabric for a backdrop (I used black fabric but you can use anything you have around)
-Reflector (I’ll talk more about this later in the post)
Cut a hole big enough for your hand to fit through
The perfect spot to shoot is next to an open door.  You’ll notice a couple of things…
1.  Notice I just draped the backdrop over the open door.
2.  Notice that my Santa hand person was not blocking the light coming in the door.
3.  Notice there is no direct sun coming through the door just indirect light.

Here’s the image I captured…

The next images I played with a reflector as fill light.  (Fill light is the light that diminishes the shadows cast by the main light.)  The open door will light my subject bright on one side and leave a shadow on the other side of her face.  Sometime this look is desired.  A strong light and dark side makes for a more dramatic image.  When you diminish the shadows by using fill light it creates a more soft image.
Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!!
If you enjoyed this tip and love learning about photography and lighting then you must check out the Photo By Emilie Workshops.  She offers workshops in Salt Lake and ONLINE!!  She is giving you a discount of $25 off until Christmas.


  1. 1

    Oh I love that idea! I wonder if “the hand” would fly with my 6 year old.. hmm I dunno (bribe, bribe) worth a try!

  2. 2

    Great idea! My kids were always scared of Santa when they were little.

  3. 3

    So smart and too stinkin’ cute!

  4. 5

    So cute! Thanks for the Santa photo shoot idea and also the wonderful photography tips, I’m trying to use natural light now where possible as the flash is so unflattering to people so thanks for this help. x

  5. 6

    I love this so much I had to share it on fb with my friends

  6. 7

    This so smart! So many kids are scared of Santa when they see this giant man in a big, red suit! This would also work great for photographers doing holiday pictures in home without access to Santa!

  7. 8

    Oh this is SO cute! thanks for the tips!!

  8. 9

    This is a genius idea! Even my hubby was super impressed! Thanks for sharing!

  9. 10

    Brilliant!!!!! Thank you!

  10. 11

    For some reason the photos are no longer visible Please could you repost?

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