How to Photograph Santa Over Your House

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This photograph was a personal peak Christmas moment for me. Here’s what happened.

It was Christmas Eve and we were at my in-laws farm house. All the cousins were there. The tree was glowing in the window and I asked some of the kids if they wanted to go outside with me as I took a picture of the house from the outside. Several of them came along. As soon as I got outside I looked over the house and saw a flying object. Even before the kids could look I pointed my camera at the sky and photographed what I told them was a UFO. I was shaking with excitement. They didn’t see it but I was sure I had a photograph of it. We went back inside to look.

As I turned the preview window on my camera my eyes almost fell out of my head. It was not a traditional UFO—it was Santa and his sleigh and I had an actual photograph of the whole rig! It was a little blurry—I had to shoot at a 15th of a second—but it was clearly Santa. I quickly went to grandma’s computer and printed a pile of 8 x 10 prints. That took about 30 seconds. Every kid got one. Like I said this was a peak Christmas moment for me. Here’s how I did it:

I copied a picture of Santa off of an old Christmas card and edited a bunch of motion blur around to make it look like he was flying. Then I edited that image into a picture I had taken of the farmhouse the previous year. There was a Christmas tree in the window just like the night we went outside.

Now I have a picture of Santa flying over the farmhouse. I simply photographed that picture right off of my computer monitor. It looked incredibly good. NOW I had a picture of Santa flying over the farmhouse IN MY CAMERA! The stage was set. This was a thing of beauty. I made the pile of 8 x 10s and counted the days till Christmas. I was downright giddy.

Try to imagine how a group of small children would react if they watch you take a picture of Santa flying over your house and then you show them that the photograph. If my experience is any indicator, they completely flip out. Their reaction was way beyond my expectations. My niece Emily was visibly shaking when she held the print in her hands. Years later she took the picture to school as evidence that the mystery man of Christmas does indeed exist.

Here’s how you do it: Sometime before Christmas photograph the exterior of your house after dark. It’s nice it is a little light in the sky to give it some color but that’s your call. If there are some Christmas lights in the photograph it helps. I’ve put my picture of Santa and his sleigh here with three different colored backgrounds. Maybe you can screen grab one, and if you have the editing skills place them over your house and create what I hope will be one magical Christmas memory.

Merry Christmas.

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