You’ve planned the perfect family Christmas. The tree is looking beautiful, all the presents are wrapped, and you’ve got enough food in to feed an army. So, how do you go about taking amazing photos to capture the festivities in all their glory? Here’s our round-up of tips to make sure you’ve got a camera roll full of comfort and joy to look back on in years to come.
Top tricks for getting the best Christmas photos
Focus on faces
Take a look at some of your favourite photos of your family and it’s likely that most of them feature twinkly eyes and smiley faces. When you’re capturing snaps of your family on Christmas Day, don’t be afraid to get in close either by zooming in (if the quality of the photo isn’t affected) or just by moving nearer to the subject. You want to avoid too much empty space or distracting stuff in the background above their heads or on either side as it will detract from their lovely faces.
Get between the subject and the light source
Unless you’re going for an arty silhouette shot, it’s best to position yourself between what you’re taking a photo of and the main light source – this could be a window, side lamp or even the telly. This way, you’ll get the light falling on your subject and that little dot of light in the eyes that make them look all magical and sparkly.
Go outdoors if you can
If it’s not chucking it down with rain and you can lure the family off the sofa to go outside for a breath of fresh air, you’ll be rewarded with some great Christmas photos. The light will give your photos a lovely crispness and if you can find some festive lights or foliage as a backdrop all the better. If you’re lucky enough to get snow on Christmas Day, get as many shots of the white Christmas as you can – and don’t forget to include the snowman in the frame!
Try shooting in continuous mode
Lots of moments on Christmas Day conjure up so many lovely expressions that it can be hard to keep up – opening the presents, bringing out the Christmas pud, playing the most infuriating games with the whole family. Use your phone or camera’s continuous shooting or burst mode to capture the split-second changes on your family’s faces without worrying you’ll miss the best shot.
Use your camera’s self-timer
If you’re the one who usually ends up taking all the photos on Christmas Day, don’t forget to set up your camera on timer so you don’t get left out. You don’t necessarily need a tripod – although do dig it out of the cupboard if you have one – propping your camera or phone on a shelf should do the trick just as well.
Don’t rely on auto-flash
If you’re taking photos indoors, it might seem like common sense to leave the auto-flash on. But ironically, using a flash can often work best when it’s not quite so dark, otherwise the light/shadow contrast can look really harsh. So, for example, using a flash to capture all the preparations in the kitchen might work really well, but in the living room try turning auto-flash off to see how pretty the scene looks lit just by the Christmas lights and side lamps.
Change the perspective
When you’re capturing your family’s Christmas together, imagine you’re a film director looking for the most interesting way to shoot a scene. If you’ve already taken lots of shots standing up, try getting down on the floor and shooting on a level with the kids playing their toys. Snap some pictures along a corridor or through a window. You could focus on just hands or feet. Or give your camera to the kids for a while to see Christmas through their eyes.
What photos will tell your family Christmas story?
Whether you’re spending Christmas with a few family members, your close friends or with a house full of extended family – Christmas is so special because of the way you celebrate it together. Capturing photographs of your Christmas Day is a wonderful way to hold on the memories, share them with loved ones who can’t be there and create a lovely story to look back on after Christmas is all done for another year. If you’re not sure what to focus on during a whole day of festive fun, here are some ideas to get you started.
Plan for the big moments
What are the parts of Christmas Day that you look forward to the most? What do you want to be able to show your kids when they’re older? Kids opening the presents, Dad getting the giant turkey out of the oven, everyone sitting at the table before tucking into the feast, Granny starting the Christmas carol singalong going. Whatever your lovely family traditions or your favourite parts of the day, these are the moments to snap, share and hold onto.
Make space for the little moments
As well as planning ahead of time for capturing the big moments of the day, don’t be so busy focusing on them that you miss the magic of the unexpected or the beauty of the quiet moments. Christmas isn’t about showing how shiny and instagrammable your life is (although when you’ve put so much effort into your table decorations, it is nice to be appreciated!) It’s about being in the moment with the people you love.
Set up a selfie zone
You know those hilarious photo booths people have at their weddings filled with fancy dress props? Why not grab a load of hats, scarves and other gubbins from around the house and set up a little space at home to capture the Christmas love? You could hang up a festive tablecloth or snowy-scene poster for a backdrop and let the family go for it. Hopefully, you’ll get some gorgeous funny photos and touching moments between family members that you wouldn’t otherwise have captured. You might just find the pictures get more and more crazy as the mulled wine flows!
Keep Christmas memories close to your heart
Christmas is a time for making magical memories. And Lifecake is a baby photo app to help you save, share and remember them. Discover the easiest, safest way to share photos with family or read more tips about how to take great family Christmas photos.
Images 2, 3 and 7 above from freepik.com.