1. Charge Batteries. This may seem obvious, but with the chaos of Christmas Eve - it can easily be one more thing that slips your mind. Prepare now! Charge and have back up memory cards and batteries ready to go. Set your camera in an ideal spot so that you can capture your kid's reaction as soon as they see the tree! Lay this all out well in advance so you're not scrambling last minute.
2. Set the Scene. Christmas decorations are so festive and happy, but can easily become cluttered. Take a moment to tidy up the space/background where your family will spend most of Christmas morning. Toss any newspapers, paper clutter or stray items. That way, the focus of your pictures will be on the memories and not last week's laundry piles! ;)
3. Consider Camera Settings. - With all the paper flying and excited kiddos, make sure your shutter speed is high enough to freeze the action. I would suggest not shooting under a 1/200 shutter speed. Don't be afraid to increase your ISO, because most likely - it will still be dark out. You'll be relying on artificial light unless your kids are angelic wonders who actually sleep past dawn on Christmas Day. If that's your situation, I would keep that information to yourself, hahaha! Yes, a higher ISO may add more grain to your images, but they should print just fine. Consider how you want to use these images and if they are just for your family - then remember, it doesn't have to be perfect!
4. Make A Mess! Resist the urge to pose your kids. Let them enjoy and try to capture the big moments. Not everything needs to be documented, but maybe there is that one special gift from Dad that you would love to see your daughter's reaction. Pick and choose what matters and then put the camera down in between. You can always stage images after or try again. No stress!
5. Grab Those Details. I love capturing the sweet, messy bedhead of my girls. Their fuzzy slippers and chipped nail polish. These are things that pull at my Momma heart. I always take a few of these on Christmas morning to tuck into a family album.
Bonus Tip: Get in the Frame and Enjoy! If you have a tripod and remote, try to capture the whole family after the present opening is done. If not, prop your camera up on the couch and set the self-timer. Or, even better, pass the camera to someone else and have them capture you opening a gift or snuggling your kids. Mothers disappear from memories because we are often the ones behind the camera. Let's change that! Then, sit back and enjoy yourself. Your family deserves your attention, so try not to focus too much on capturing every shot.
I hope these tips encouraged you! If you're looking for a photography community, come just us in the 'Stay Little' Lounge over on Facebook. We'll be sharing our messy memories and cheering one another on. See you there!
Merry Christmas, friends!