Did you watch my Facebook Live video this past week about Holiday Photography Tips for Families? I wanted to get a few images up on the blog to help you SEE some examples especially about finding and using dynamic light in your space.
We’ve had a great Advent season so far, although I must admit I’m a little bummed we don’t have any snow on the ground. Last year during Advent we had some pretty hefty snowfalls. Go check out the photos from last year. My kids are pretty much climbing the walls ready to throw a snowball. We have been trying to stick to some fun traditions, like making Christmas ninja cookies, crafting and getting our decorations up.
10 of my Holiday Photography Tips for you to use for you family too!
1. TURN OFF the Lights in your room when taking photos. Lights in our homes often give off a yellow glow and can make skin tones look very off. Plus you don’t want your house lights to compete with the beautiful lights from your Christmas Tree or decorations.
2. Some Christmas tree lights (LED varieties) actually vibrate and flash their light very fast. So fast that our eyes can’t see it! Don’t be surprised if you take photos and parts of your tree looks not light up.
-Try some dramatic looks with your Christmas Tree Lights… maybe silhouette your child or pet in front of the tree for a shot or tow.
-Use the Christmas tree to illuminate your child’s face. Ask your child to play a fun game of ‘I Spy’ with the ornaments or have them point out their favorite and make it fun.
3. When taking the epic holiday photo of your kids all dressed up, place your child about 4-5 feet in front of your tree so they aren’t competing with focus and you get a softer backdrop for the portrait. Be sure to back yourself up and hold the camera at your child’s eye level. DON’T shoot down to your child so their head is tilted up. This causes a balloon head effect which is probably not the look you are going for!
4. Look for dynamic light in dark places like your church. Windows and candle light are fun ways to play with making beautiful holiday portraits.
5. Know that your on camera flash will NOT reach your child up on the church stage if you are sitting in the pew. Most camera flashes can only reach forward a few feet… So you will only being lighting the back of the peoples heads in front of you in an attempt to photograph the program.
6. When photographing family photos seek out a window and place the window/light source to the SIDE of your subject. Don’t have the bright light come from behind your subjects if at all possible. This can often create a hazy look and you will end up losing detail in faces. Having the light come from the side creates beautiful shape and shadow on faces.
7. Don’t forget to photograph the small details from your holiday season.
8. Get in front of the camera! Seriously, be sure you aren’t the only one documenting the memories, be in them too!
9. Limit the time spent behind the lens. Be present with your friends and family too this holiday season. It can be easy to want to photograph everything but really a solid 40-50 photos is all that you need to tell a great story of your Christmas celebrations! No need for the flip book!
10. Don’t let getting the perfect photo be your priority. This is a big one for me… sometimes I’m so stubborn about a shot I’ve created in my head that I can be a bit of a bear to my kiddo’s when I’m setting it up. Perspective is always important. Make things fun for them.
No Advent season is complete without our Peanuts Nativity set up for the kids to play with… there always seems to be a few extra characters hanging around too… Mikey Mouse, a Shopkins or a Star Wars figure, life is pretty interesting at our manger scene.
The sugar cookie recipe is from my Grandma, so I thought taking a detail image of one of her coffee cups was a great way to honor her spirit during this tradition.
My Aunt Tracy came to help and it is so fun having others around to share in our madness.
You can see in many of these images I have a HUGE window behind the kids… not ideal I tell ya… but the light was very dynamic because the rest of the room was very dark. I hope as you click through you will notice the way the light creates different feels as I move the camera around the room. I’m using my DSLR and photograph my family in manual mode because I LOVE light… I love reading light and being in complete control of the final image. Sometimes, I need to check my Type A perfectionism at the door when photographing my family to be honest though.
We spent Gaudete Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent… the day you light the rose colored candle…) at home and made some wonderful Beignet’s to enjoy! They were a huge hit and the kids requested I make them for Christmas Morning this year.
A quick look through the toy catelogue…
The coveted Christmas Tree photo. I put these two side by side so you can see the difference a bit. On the right, I pulled the kids way in front of the tree to give it a softer look that I was going after. Then on the left, I changed focus to the tree. If the kids would have been right next to the tree… they tree would have been far to distracting to allow for this dramatic holiday portrait. I’m also laying on my belly so as to be on the same level with them getting a direct angle.
Please contact me for more information on how to get amazing lifestyle images of your own family!