Christmas is a brilliant time to take photographs. It captures your house fully decorated and resplendent. It’s easy to find smiling, happy people and this is the ideal to time to get shots of family and friends together enjoying themselves.
These are the kinds of memories that you want to create so that you and your family can enjoy them for years to come.
But getting the perfect photos of the big day can be a lot more challenging than you think. Here, photographer and writer Dakota Murphey, who works with UK experience day specialist Into the Blue has provided her top tips for capturing the best possible images this Christmas.
Have a plan
Your amazing photos of Christmas might look spontaneous – but you actually need to put in a great deal of meticulous planning to get it right. Think about the key points of the day and understand where you’ll need to be standing to capture them on camera.
Consider the big moments – the kids excitedly coming down the stairs, the unwrapping of the first gift, bringing out the plates of Christmas dinner… It can be easy to forget on the day, so set up a plan for when you’re going to need the camera in your hands.
Charge your battery before the big day
This one might seem obvious but it’s worth re-iterating that you need to take it seriously. Charge up the battery of the camera on Christmas Eve. You’ll only have one solitary opportunity to capture your Christmas Day celebrations and the key events described above.
If you miss them because your camera isn’t charged, even the best plan will be completely ruined. Set a reminder in your phone to ensure the camera is fully charged so that you can get straight into the photos on Christmas Day itself.
Make the most of the daylight
Christmas takes place at the time of year when we get very little daylight. So it’s really worth making the most of the natural light while it lasts. Open up the windows and let the light into the room.
It’s nice to capture the day’s light in all its different forms, from the Christmas Day sunrise, to the crisp mid-morning sun and on to the warm hue of dusk. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to utilise your lights indoors, so get on with your natural light photography as soon as you can.
On the same point, it’s worth getting out of the house for some of your photos. Walk off your Christmas lunch with a brisk walk and take advantage of the quieter streets for some lovely outdoor landscapes.
Get group photos
Christmas is a time for coming together – so utilise group photos. It’s OK to get a couple of posed shots, but it’s actually much better to shoot people naturally. It might be a little tricky, but see if you can find a way to take a few photos without any knowing.
Catching people candidly is a lovely way to showcase the Christmas atmosphere in your home. It’s also worth noting that if you’re going to try to catch people opening presents together, you’ll need to use the burst mode on your camera to get multiple pictures – you can then choose the best from the bunch.
Return to themes
For the most impressive batch of Christmas photos, it’s great to use themes or to have a specific focus. Food is a brilliant one to start with – photograph each meal carefully as it’s put out on the table and then take the time for group shots at the table eating together.
It’s also worth noting that the excitement of children is a great thing to focus on. Christmas through the eyes of a child is where it is most magical.
Finally, don’t forget that you are a huge part of Christmas Day too. There is a tendency for the photographer to be taking photos all day and never include themselves in the shots. Be sure to get someone else to have a few of the photos so that you can be a part of the memories too.