02 Dec Top tips for taking photos of your kids over the Christmas season
Top tips for photographing your children over Christmas
It’s the most wonderful time of the year …
This time of year is a special one because of the wonderful family memories they create. Even more so after last year’s Christmas Covid restrictions (fingers crossed the same thing doesn’t happen this year!).
I often get asked by my friends how to capture these special festive moments, so here are some of my tips to help freeze frame this magical time of year.
Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree
Christmas wouldn’t feel like Christmas, without having a Christmas tree with sparkly lights. I love taking pictures at Christmas time with the gorgeous lights of the tree in the background! It makes a photo instantly have that special, warm and festive vibe. The best time take these photos is at dusk, when it’s dark enough to capture the beautiful twinkle of the lights, but there is still enough natural light to light your subjects.
Ask your kids to decorate the tree. Capture the detail like their hands placing a bauble on the tree, photograph Christmas decorations they have made at nursery/school, set up an activity for them to do near the tree (e.g. colouring in Christmas pictures, reading a Christmas book, or playing with their favourite toy) and snap away.
If you want to get the lovely twinkly lights look (known as ‘bokeh’ in the photography world), it’s good to put the kids about 1.5-2 metres away from the tree. Set your focus on them. If you are using a Smartphone, set it to portrait mode. This will make your background lovely and blurry and your subject will pop.
Keep it simple
Trying to photograph your children can be a challenge at the best of times, so whenever there are little ones involved, it’s best to keep it simple.
One idea that is simple and gets lovely results is to use a blanket (extra points if you have one that is Christmas colours or cream). Dress your littles up in their Christmas outfit and find a nice source of natural light. Put a blanket down and get them to lie on it face up and take aerial photographs of them from above. If they need some encouragement on the smiles front, use your feet to tickle their tummies!
Shake a rattle to get their attention. With older toddlers, find something they enjoy watching on your mobile phone and hold it above them so they are looking up at you (you might need an extra set of hands for this one!).
Lets get festive!
A sure fire way to create that instant Christmassy feel in photos, is to dress your children up in Christmas inspired outfits! Get the cute Christmas jumpers, Santa rompers and the pretty sparkly dresses out, pop on some Christmas PJs and Bob’s your Uncle!
Say no to flash!
It gets darker much earlier this time of year, so I know how tempting it is to put on your flash when taking photos, especially if you want to capture moments inside. However, try to avoid it if you can! Flash can be very harsh and takes away any ambience you are trying to create. You want soft, warm pictures so the best thing to do is photograph near a lovely source of light. Christmas tree lights is a good one, or a window or door.
For the shot above of Jasmine reading by the tree, I placed Jasmine with her back against the door reading a Christmas book. I had the Christmas lights on and left the blinds open to let more light in. Smartphones are quite good at adjusting the settings to make a photo brighter. If you are using a DSLR camera and shooting in manual, the trick is to increase your ISO and shoot wider (e.g. f2.8).
Use burst mode
You know that feeling you get when you’re trying to take a photo of your kids and you take the perfect shot, but your little one is waving something in front of their face, or if you have more than one child, at least one of them isn’t looking at the camera.
One way to increase your chances of getting ‘the’ shot, is to set your phone to burst mode. This will take multiple shots within seconds of each other, so you can scroll through and choose the best one.
The BIG day
Christmas day is a busy one, but taking photos of candid moments with your kids on the day will bring back the loveliest of memories.
Capture them opening their presents and playing with them afterwards, take photos of the Christmas Day cooking, table set up, Grandad/dad sleeping on the couch… all the little details that bring the day together and make sure you get in the frame too!
Take lots of different angles, zoom in and zoom out – experiment and have fun with it.
I hope these tips help you capture the essence of Christmas in your homes. If you have any others to add, please share the love in the Comments below, or share this blog with your friends and family who like to photograph their children.
Wishing you all a wonderful, safe and healthy Christmas, from my family to yours.