1.) Turn off your flash and use ambient light as much as possible. If it's evening and indoor lights are a necessity, turn your White Balance to Incandescent. This will get rid of that yellow cast you often see in your indoor shots that are taken at night. Don't worry, your phone even has this capability and it's super easy to adjust in the settings.
If you want to do what I do, read this article about Understanding Kelvin. Don’t worry, if reading a tutorial or manual isn’t your thing and you prefer a little handholding, be sure to signup to receive details about my upcoming Camera Workshop for Moms when they become available. Understanding light and white balance are just two of many topics we'll cover in a super straightforward and non-intimidating way.
2.) What do you want remembered? Shoot it. Social media has trained many of us to yearn for the perfect shot, one that will show our friends, family, and followers how picture perfect our family is. Let's fight that urge and instead take the kinds of photographs your family will be thankful for, for many years to come. Put yourself in your shoes, and your kids' shoes, 20 years from now. What details and moments to you want to be able to look back on?
3.) Tell the complete story. Zoom in and photograph all of the little details of your family's Christmas traditions like your heirloom tree ornaments, your grandmother's cookies she makes every year just for the holidays, and the decorations made by the littlest hands. After recording the little details, remember to zoom out to photograph the whole scene. I always appreciate a picture that reminds me what a room or home looked like in years past. What does the setting of your Christmas celebration look like in 2017?
4.) Document interactions between family members. One of my most vivid memories of my paternal grandmother was her love of babies. If there was one in the room, they were on her knee and she was singing to them. Today, if I had a picture depicting that memory, rather than having to rely on the fuzzy details in my brain, you better believe it would be one of my most treasured photographs, one I would love to show to my children.
5.) Hand over your camera at some point and get in a few shots. Make sure your kids and grandkids see that you were there too. You’re such an enormous part of their lives and their holiday celebrations, make sure your face is in your family’s photos. Don’t like having your picture taken? Read this warning from me, before it's too late.
6.) Put your camera down and be in the moment. Remember we’re not striving for perfect pictures, we’re creating a time capsule of photographs that will one day mean the world to you and your family. Don’t obsess over getting the perfect shot or every shot, for that matter. Take a few photos, then put the camera down nearby and enjoy yourself. Pick it back up when a moment or detail catches your eye.
Wishing you peace, joy, and all the best the holidays have to offer. May this season of giving and making memories with family bring you joy that lasts throughout the coming year. Good luck with your time capsules of photographs! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!
If you found these tips to be helpful and you want to know more, be the first to receive details about my upcoming Camera Workshop for Moms, when they become available. I will help train your eyes to become like little shutters and make you more confident in using your DSLR, or even your camera phone, so you can quickly execute that shot to remember when in the moment.