Imagine yourself on Christmas morning. You’re snuggled up under your comforter, drool is pooling on your pillow and visions of staying up too late wrapping presents float through your head. And even though you would normally trade your children for an extra 5 minutes of sleep, you’re delighted to hear them tip-toeing across the floor to wake you up and rush to open the presents that Santa left for them under the tree.
You switch on the festive lights and prepare for the shrieks and laughter that are about to fill your house but STOP! How are you going to preserve the morning and all those gushing feelings of love and sentimentality? You bring out your smartphone and take snapshots of course. Not to necessarily share on social media, but just for you and a few select friends and family to enjoy later on, when the kids are grown and no longer wish to exalt you with lavish praise and exaggerated appreciation. Snapshots are there to take a deep breath and remember when they were younger and life really was simpler.
But how do you take spontaneous-looking but action snapshots? Here’s a few hints from a dad that has captured a few Christmases himself.
1. Be mindful of the background. This is something that you prepare for probably back at Thanksgiving or the beginning of Advent. Understand that how your living room (or wherever your tree is located) is decorated will be the backdrop for all your snapshots! Plan accordingly.
2. Wear festive pajamas. Another great tradition to start is everyone opens up their holiday pajamas on Christmas Eve and this ensures that the whole family will be wearing what you have chosen on Christmas morning.
- So that you don’t take snapshots with piles of wrapping paper and garbage scattered around the floor. Wrap a large, empty, cardboard box and place it next to the tree. All the wrapping paper and trash goes in there and adds to the festive look of your pictures.
- Take turns opening presents. This gives you one subject at a time but also makes the morning last longer and stretches out the anticipation of opening presents. The trick here is don’t take too long taking the photo or chaos will follow.
- Get familiar with some filter apps available to your smartphone and do some practice shots in your living room around the tree before Christmas morning. One of the big keys to memorable snapshots is a bit of preparation. After you’ve taken a few practice shots you’ll be surprised at how ideas will pop into your head. With additional practice, you’ll find you’ll get better and better.
- Final hint, and this is a biggie, is to remember to put the camera/smartphone down and live in the moment too! Every Christmas spent together is one to cherish and remember in your soul. You don’t need a photograph for that, you just need a heart.
When the rush of Christmas and New Years has settled down, contact me so I can schedule you for a professional family portrait. You’ll start the year off right and each year you’ll be able to compare the growth of the kids and the graceful aging of yourself and your spouse. My photographs are more than pictures, they’re art that speaks to your soul for generations to come.
Have a blessed and Merry Christmas, from my family to yours.