Like Clark Griswold, many of us are guilty of having unrealistic expectations of our holiday gatherings. Chances are that, as a photographer, you secretly want to set up lights in the living room, clear all the clutter and brush the kids’ hair before you start shooting, giving direction and posing the family along the way. But what fun would Christmas Vacation have been if the squirrel had never jumped out of the Christmas tree to terrorize the family, the turkey hadn’t been overdone, or if the police hadn’t been called? Part of the real fun of the holidays is the memories, including some of the messier ones. It is Christmas after all, so give the portrait photographer perfectionist in you a day off and just photograph your story.
Tip 1 - Capture The Mess!
A messy house and a cluttered frame are things most photographers aim to avoid. However, nothing says "Christmas morning" like crinkled up wrapping paper all over your floor.
Tip 2 - It's The Little Things!
Think Small. Capture the details that tell your story - like the tiny hands opening the gifts, their feet curled under them, the stockings and their favorite ornaments. The details are the things that will make your Christmas story truly personal.
Tip 3 - Embrace The Connections!
Don't be afraid to get in the picture this time! One of the best ways to include yourself is getting creative with your angles and point of view.
Tip 4 - The Whole Picture
Using your widest angle lens, step far away from this one - maybe even back into the hallways or another room. This will help you capture your whole story in some great full-family shots.
Tip 5 - The Presents
One thing I always try to avoid is photographing clients doing anything that will 'date' my images. Toss that rule completely out of the window here! Let the presents date the images. Think outside of the box a little and capture your children playing with their new toys!
Finally, let your images be messy. Crank up your ISO a little to give it some grain, and slow your shutter speed to create some movement and blurry hands handing over presents. Your kids and husband will love this one…. just let them ignore the camera! Embrace the true feeling of Christmas morning as it is in your home, from the charm to the chaos.
Article by Kala Rath