Tips for Capturing Christmas Morning Portraits

Tips for Capturing Christmas Morning Portraits

Have you attempted to take Christmas morning photos of their family only to feel disappointed with the results? It's a tricky time to have the camera out – you want to capture the magic but also enjoy the moment. Here are some top tips from Venture's own Jennifer Smith, who also runs her own children's photography business, The Cucumber Walrus (go on, check out her work before you continue reading this article).

Christmas morning portraits

Getting great Christmas morning shots is all about being prepared but also being responsive to spontaneous moments.

There are a few things you can do to get ready the night before:

  • Charge your battery – this sounds obvious but there is nothing worse than clicking away only to have the battery go flat before you even get to the present opening.
  • A fresh memory card – it's better to take too many photos than to miss shots because you know you have limited space.
  • Clear the clutter – we would never assume your house is anything less than perfect on Christmas Eve but it's good to cast your eye around for anything that might be distracting in the background. Imagine the most perfect shot of your child's face filled with delight only to have a pile of magazines with a tissue box on top poking out from behind them.
  • It's easier to have a quick tidy up than to digitally alter the background later.

On Christmas morning:

  • Open all the blinds and curtains and doors that you can. You need as much light in the room as you can get. Children move fast!
  • It seems unlikely you will be up before the children, but if you manage it place yourself next to the tree to get a photo of their first look at the presents as they come running in.
  • Try and capture the key moments and then pop the camera aside. Just a click here and there of handing out the presents, present opening, trying on of silly glasses, drinking eggnog etc. – whatever your traditions are. We always have a tin of Quality Street as we open the presents. Nothing says 'all bets are off it's Christmas day' like chocolate at 6am!

For our beginner photographers don't forget:

  • Aperture – you might be dealing with low light so having the aperture wide open helps.
  • Shutter speed – at the very least 1/125.
  • ISO – don't be afraid to raise it.
  • White balance – if you don't know what works best in your house feel free to set it to Auto.
  • Not sure which lens to use? Your fastest! If you have a 50mm f1.8 use this one.

Just remember that these photos are all about remembering family celebrations. They might not make it on the wall as prints, but you will always look back on them fondly.

It is better to have a slightly blurred photo of the dog lunging at the wrapping paper than not to have that memory at all. So, don't panic if you have a few blurry shots, or someone refused to get dressed, or brush their hair, is looking away, or just won't keep still long enough for sharp focus! JUST DON'T WORRY – it's better to capture the moment than perfection!

Finally – when it's time - put away the camera and enjoy your Christmas.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

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