Ah, the Holidays….the lights, the excitement, the BIG moments. It’s a magical time and it can result in some really powerful photos, but also, it can be completely overwhelming and stressful. Although we know that capturing that awe worthy photo is important, it’s also equally important to not lose your mind. With that in mind, we’ve put together a few of our favourite tips to photograph the stories, but to also let go of stress this Christmas season.
Set your camera up on a tripod and set your interval timer to go for a few hours. Then set it and forget it! Enjoy Christmas morning and know that the whole scene is being captured for you.
You don’t need a photo of every single present being opened. Know ahead of time the big presents that you know you’re going to want to catch the reaction for, and then for the rest of the presents sit back and be a part of the moment.
Remember that just because you know what you’re doing with a camera, you don’t always have to be the designated photographer at gatherings and events. It’s ok to leave your camera at home sometimes and just be a part of the crowd.
Focus on relationships and excitement instead of perfection. Years from now you’re going to look back and want to see the way you looked at each other and the joy that was in your kids’ eyes, not that you had the perfect bokeh on your Christmas tree.
Photograph your tree BEFORE the craziness of Christmas morning. By getting that tree shot that you want before you actually start to open presents you’ll be able to slow down and focus instead of feeling rushed and your kids bugging you to start opening gifts.
Don’t be afraid of the crowds at Christmas events- embrace them!
Use the crowds to help tell the story (i.e. show how there were 100 people looking at the lights on one house)
Use the crowds compositionally (framing, leading lines, etc)
Embrace the lights and the colour casts that are all apart of the holiday season. Christmas is full of bright and bold colours and it is only natural that they will reflect onto skin and throw off your white balance. Again, let go of perfection and just enjoy the holiday colours!
Capture the details as well as the big picture. Don’t forget to capture the Christmas cards, treats, kids’ crafts, the wrapping paper mess on Christmas morning, the decorations, etc. In the years to come, it’s often the little details that we miss the most.
Be present with your family and friends. Set a time limit for how long you’ll shoot for. Make your images in that time frame and then put the camera away. You don’t want to spend the entire holiday season behind the lens.
Try not to be reactive (you’ll end up rushing with sloppy composition), but rather stay active to anticipate and be ready to capture the smiles and reactions.
Run ahead and turn around to capture the reactions. You can always go back and capture the tree, etc later but you can’t recreate those first reactions.
And most importantly, don’t forget to include yourself. (Scared of getting in front of the camera, check out our handy e-book that will walk you through it every step of the way!).