10 Christmas Photos Every Parent Should Take
Christmas-time is my favorite season to photograph—the old Christmas photos from my own family albums inspire me, as do the colorful lights and the ambience of fireside glow.
One of my favorite elements of Christmas photos is a colored light bokeh, that beautiful blurred blend of lights behind your subject. How do you get it? You need a wide aperature (this was shot at f 1.4), distance between your subject and the lights, and a long focal length (50 mm for this image).
Make a list of your family’s favorite traditions to help you remember images you’ll want to capture—many that might take place long before December 25. My husband happens to be a bit of a Clark Griswold, so every year I make it a point to take a photo of his decorating routine.
Taking the kids to see Santa? Don’t forget to bring your own camera, even if you plan on paying for an image. Malls tend to focus on that everybody-look-at-the-camera-and-smile shot, so aim to capture a more meaningful image of your child engaged in conversation with Santa.
When we decorate our Christmas tree, we pull a ladder out to reach the top of the tree. It makes a great perch for beautiful overhead angles of your child decorating the tree. For these images, I usually focus on my daughter’s hand placing the ornament.
Before you consider adding a flash, try using candlelight in your photos. Candles are such a beautiful addition to holiday ambience, and they add a dreamy glow to a subject’s face. We use them every Christmas Eve, and these photos (2.8, 1/40 sec, 800 ISO) are some of my favorites.
The Cookie Plate
If you leave cookies for Santa, don’t forget to take a photo of the empty plate in the morning. This is a great story-telling image and a good detail to include for a Christmas scrapbook page—just one of the many details you work hard to create in making magic for your kids.
A Child's Point of View
Think about your children’s perspective. What stands out to them when they walk out of their bedrooms on Christmas morning? After my girls are in bed on Christmas Eve, I try and take photos of the scene I want them to remember years from now. This way, I can be more in-the-moment on Christmas morning.
My husband makes a “reindeer runway” every Christmas Eve in our driveway. Are there special things you do outside of your house to lure Santa in? Don’t forget to take photos outside of your home, especially at night if your house is lit up.
I think my most cherished photo every Christmas is the one I quietly sneak to take after the girls are in bed. I call it my “visions of sugarplums” shot, and whether it’s blurry or dimly lit, it represents a year’s worth of gratitude for me.
A shot we often forget to take, but one very representative of a moment we all share, is the mess of Christmas morning after the hubbub. In this image, I focused on my coffee (that I finally had time to drink) and let the scene of toys and babies and wrapping paper fade in the background.
Kelle Hampton is a mom, photographer, blogger, and author who lives in sunny Florida. To learn more about her, visit Enjoying the Small Things.
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