8 Easy Tips to Photograph Christmas Morning

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8 Easy Tips to Photograph Christmas Morning

Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to spread the cheer than by making sure that you capture those magical Christmas morning photos!

Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love the way my house twinkles with the lights and candles, the memories being made, and the traditions of the decorations that I put up and I love capturing all of those memories.

I’ve put together 8 tips to help you photograph Christmas morning without too much stress.

So grab your camera, and let’s unwrap the secrets to getting great Christmas morning photos!

Photograph Christmas Morning

Prep Your Gear

My number one tip to help you photograph Christmas morning is to prep your gear and the house. Being ready is crucial for capturing spontaneous moments so before the festivities begin, make sure your camera is charged and ready to go and the area of your house that you know you will photograph is tidy.

Clean your lenses to ensure clarity in your shots, and have the correct lens handy. My go-to lens is the Canon 50mm f1.8. I love this lens because it allows me to shoot wide open and achieve that gorgeous blurry background that I love.

Clean up any unnecessary items around the Christmas tree. Put extra blankets away, and hide the remote controls. Prep your area, like you prep your gear.

Make sure that you charge your camera battery, and even have another on hand.

Check your memory card capacity. There’s nothing worse than running out of space on your card, so either buy a large one or a few to have handy in case you fill up the first one during the festivities.

Embrace the Early Light

December brings the smell of fires burning in the fireplace, chestnuts roasting on an open fire (I have never roasted a chestnut, have you?), and the twinkle of the Christmas tree. It also brings a lot less light for you to take amazing pictures, especially if you take them inside!

Christmas morning often starts early, and that soft, natural light right after sunrise is perfect for capturing warm, glowing images.

The kind of light that adds a magical touch to your shots. Place yourself near a window to take advantage of this natural light source. Setting your camera to a low ISO will help maintain image quality in these lighting conditions.

Crank up the ISO if needed. You read that correctly. Most cameras nowadays can handle a high ISO. And it’s okay to have a bit of grain in your photo. If your image is exposed correctly and your ISO is high, you will have a picture with much less noise.

Candid Moments Over Posed Shots

The joy of Christmas morning is in the genuine reactions and spontaneous moments and capturing candid moments is an easy way to photograph Christmas morning.

Instead of staging every shot, focus on capturing candid expressions and reactions – the surprise in their eyes as they unwrap a gift or the laughter shared during a family joke.

Remember to have fun! Not every shot has to be perfect. When you take your capturing Christmas morning photos. It’s more about creating memories than creating an ideal picture

Candid moments often hold more emotional value. Keep your camera handy, and be ready to capture those spontaneous smiles, laughter, and expressions of joy as they happen.

Tell a Story with Details

Find the details and use them to tell your story when you photograph Christmas morning.

Don’t forget to zoom in on the little details that make Christmas morning so special, the small details that make the morning unique. The twinkle in the eye of someone sipping hot cocoa, the crumpled wrapping paper on the floor, or the hands reaching for a shared moment.

The decorations offer endless possibilities to capture the memories of the holiday season. Do you have a collection of Santas? Or snowmen? Capture those memories to look back on in years to come.

Capturing these details tells a story that will be cherished for years to come and adds depth to your pictures to tell a richer story.

Experiment with Angles

Play around with different angles to add variety to your photos.

Try shooting from above or below. When photographing the kids opening their presents, peek around the tree or get down on their level.

Changing your perspective will make your photos look more professional. And add a dynamic touch to your photos.

Get down to a child’s eye level for a unique perspective, or try an overhead shot of the entire family gathered around the tree. Mixing up your angles adds visual interest to your Christmas Morning Photos.

Document Traditions

Every family has its own set of Christmas traditions.

Do you open stockings first? Make sure to capture the shots of the full stockings near the fireplace.

Do you all take turns passing out the gifts? Capture the individuals handing them out.

Whether unwrapping presents, enjoying a special breakfast, or wearing matching pajamas, every family has Christmas traditions.

Documenting these moments will not only create a visual narrative but also help you tell a unique and personalized story when you photograph Christmas morning.

Edit with Care

I say it all the time…editing should be the icing on the cake. Don’t overedit your shots. When editing, focus on enhancing rather than overhauling your photos.

Once you’ve captured the magic, enhance your photos with editing. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and colors to bring out the warmth of the moment.

Remember, a little editing goes a long way. Keep it subtle – the goal is to enhance the scene’s natural beauty, not to create an overly edited look.

Enjoy the Moment

While capturing the magic is essential, being present in the moment is equally important. So, last but not least, don’t get so caught up in capturing the perfect shot that you forget to be present.

Take a few snaps, then put the camera down and savor the joy of Christmas morning with your loved ones.

Balance capturing memories with actively participating in them, and don’t forget to be in front of the camera as well. Your kids will want to look back and see you in the photos as well.

There you have it – a guide to capturing the enchanting moments of Christmas morning.

Remember, the key is to be flexible and adapt to Christmas morning’s unfolding moments and not treat this as a photography session.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the equipment, are just starting or don’t know how to shoot in manual mode; following these tips, you’ll capture stunning photos and create a visual narrative reflecting the warmth and joy of the holiday season.

If you want to capture some creative, festive Christmas shots before the season ends, check out these 50 free Festive Christmas Photo Prompts that I’ve put together!

Now, get prepared and go forth with your camera in hand. I hope that your holiday album will be filled with laughter, love, and memories that last a lifetime.

Lifestyle Photographer & Mentor

Hi, I’m Dena, a natural light lifestyle photographer with 20+ years of experience capturing other people’s memories and teaching photographers how to understand and easily use their cameras.

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