Updated: Nov 16, 2018
1) Get a Grip on Your Gumpiness
Christmas can be a little stressful. Just a little. By the time Christmas morning comes you're over-tired and cranky. Every little obstacle makes you more and more grumpy.
So eliminate the obstacles.
If you have high expectations for everyone then lower them.
Remember that your kids aren't as sentimental as you are, they just want to rip in and have fun.
Making your kids sit still and pose in front of the tree might just be a recipe for disaster.
Promise yourself not to get frustrated and try for photos that are more candid. They're usually the best ones anyway.
2) Anticipate the Moment
You should know your kids and your family pretty well. Don't make them fake a smile. It's Christmas morning; be ready and waiting for real smiles. There ought to be a lot of them! Be ready for the crazy reactions and the playfulness too.
3) Keep the Lens Cap OFF and the Camera ON at ALL Times
You'll be way quicker on the draw! And ready for the moments that you didn't quite anticipate!
And don't forget to have your batteries charged in advance.
You do have spare batteries for your camera, right?
4) Face the Kids Toward the Light
You should avoid having the main source of light behind your kids. The background will look bright and they will look dark and shadowy.
Instead, have them facing a window or the lit up Christmas tree. Then the kids will be brighter and less blurry!
Struggling with low light?
If you are confident with your camera settings, here is a quick tip for dealing with low light. Open your aperture all the way, slow down your shutter speed to about 1/60 of a second and bump your ISO up to 3200 (or 6400 on a newer camera). This will help get a lot more light into the camera.
5) Don't Forget the Details - Food, Decor, Gifts
6) Change Your Perspective
There will be an impressive amount of variety to your photos when you change your perspective. Get way down and look up at things. Get higher up and look down.
7) Practice BEFORE Christmas and Use These Skills All Year
Most of the joy of Christmas is the anticipation. So try these tips out on the days leading up to Christmas morning. You'll have more photos and be more confident! And none of these tips are exclusive to Christmas morning. Use this stuff every day!
Hi, I'm Mat!
I got my first working camera for Christmas when I was 10.
It took me an awful long time to get good at photography because I had nobody to show me how to do it.
Now I teach photography in Trenton and Belleville. Classes are hands-on with lots of feedback so that students learn quickly.