TIPS to Photograph the STORY of your Christmas

I know that the era of "big cameras" is nearly becoming extinct...

iphones and apps have taken the world by storm and they are truly fantastic options (and I'll have more on using those devices later)...

However, I believe that our goal is still the same, no matter the "equipment" we use to capture our moments...we want our memories to be documented so that we remember every detail, feeling and experience as if it were just yesterday!

Hopefully, keeping these little things in mind will help tell YOUR story this Christmas!

1. Shoot from Different Angles:
I have been known to stand on top of furniture to get specific views, but you don't have to go to that extreme...yet, it's always a unique challenge to look at things from a different perspective.  For example, instead of just putting your camera (or iphone) right in front of your face as you stand up to snap a shot, try crouching down to your children's eye level, or the level of the table or floor (wherever the action is taking place)

2. Go in Close & Get the Details
Don't forget to get the tiny hands working on opening gifts or making cookies.  Capture their creations, even without the actual person IN the picture.  Think of how movie makers pan the scene as it's preparing you for the the same in "real life" to help your viewers SEE all the components of your Christmas story...

3. Don't be afraid to "Set It Up"
I'm not talking about "stopping the action" but I am reminding you to remove distractions and don't be afraid to move things around in order to make the most of your capture.  This is something that, after having spent so much time "photoshopping" things OUT of pictures, that I make sure I get those things out of the way, to the best of my ability ahead of time.  So, if there is a coffee cup in the way, if there are shadows on faces, if there is an odd chair in the background... take 2 seconds to move it out of the frame, and go for'll be thankful in the end because then those distractions won't be vying for attention in your "story".

4. Get to the LIGHT
PLEASE use natural light as much as possible.  The pop up flash is only your LAST resort...not only does it not reach as far as you may think it does to create enough light, but it's also harsh and casts shadows everywhere...You want to capture emotion along with your activity, so don't settle for a quick flash unless absolutely necessary.

Notice how I used the window light to get all the light needed...and I stood with the light to my side/back in order to get the subject well lit...take notice of how you position yourself to make sure the light is shining on your subjects the best that you can...
 here's another example of where I "could" have used my flash, but it would have ruined the "emotion" of the activity...It required me to be very still so that my camera could record it at a slower speed in order to get the tiny amount of light that was coming from the candle, but it's better than flashing everyone and ruining the mood.

5. Don't forget the Big Picture too
Photography is a dance between going in close and stepping back to see everything...We live in the digital era, and unless you are overloaded on your iphone with no more storage available, don't forget to step back and get the WHOLE activity at's part of the "story" as well...

Merry Christmas and HAPPY photographing!!!

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