christmas morning photo tips | family portrait photographer scottsdale

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Friends and family always ask me how I photograph my kids around the holidays – especially on Christmas morning.  Here are a few tips:

  • Get as much light in the room as you can – turn up ambient lighting, open shades – we want to be able to use natural light – try to keep flash OFF!
  • Look at the scene – are there windows behind your tree?  If you shoot directly at the windows – your pictures will come out dark.  Move to the side, look for a better spot, find a good angle, change up angles
  • Be ready to push the shutter at a moments notice – we are looking to capture natural expressions on your children’s faces
  • Get down on the ground with them while they are opening presents
  • Shoot quickly and shoot often!  You don’t want to miss anything – you can edit later!
  • Don’t forget the detail shots – a beautiful ornament, a bow on a present – we can tell a beautiful story by including these pictures
  • Document the day – start the night before – take pictures of Santa’s cookies, the tree before the kids wake up (refer to my tips of photographing holiday lights), your children sleeping, stockings hanging on the mantle…
  • If your pictures are too blurry – then add a flash (only as a last resort!)

Here is a suggestion for an interesting shot of your kids opening up their gifts under the tree:  use a tripod, turn up ambient lighting, if flash is built into camera: turn flash off, use longer exposure setting (for those that have no idea what I’m referring to – like my wife!) set the dial on the big P: Program Mode, focus on the tree (your kids should be ripping open their gifts).  The result should be a great shot of your tree and children with motion blur!

Footnote:  these are general rules – all rules can be broken or depending on your experience level – interpreted in your own way or completely ignored!  This is one way – but not the only way!  Play around with what works for you and your camera!

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