Christmas is all about the children, isn’t it? We all certainly spend more time with our family at Christmas time than the rest of the year, so it’s a perfect opportunity to capture photos of your own children or the wider family who rarely get together.
So how to make the most of this opportunity? As a professional portrait photographer, I thought I’d share some tips with you. Let’s start with those tricky little ones shall we?
Kids can be awkward to pose – the younger they are, the more tricky. Whether they gurn the moment they see the camera/phone pointing in their direction or they just will not stay still, very few children will follow directions well for photos. So you may be relieved to hear that one ‘posed’ image to remember how they looked this Christmas is all you really need. I’d recommend keeping the rest of the holiday to candid shots they don’t even notice you snapping.
For that one, vital posed shot, you want an obviously Christmas-y backdrop. The tree, snow, twinkling fairy lights. I’ve noticed people are getting quite good at choosing their backdrops these days. However, you need distance between that backdrop and your subject (the kids) to make a really professional looking image, worthy of Instagram. So bring them closer to you.
It’s Christmas. Bright colours and wacky woolly jumpers are TOTALLY allowed, if not compulsory. So don’t get too hung up on the kids outfits unless you want that perfect Will & Kate look. If this is your style and you will have them in their Sunday best for Christmas Day itself, then avoid patterns or clashing colours. A winter palette or autumnal tones in block colours will give you a super smart image.
My kids are dreadful at looking at the lens on my iPhone. The pro camera, not so bad. They’ve been nagged about it since they were old enough to choose where to look! But no matter how many times I point out the little dot they need to look at, they don’t. Maybe because I confuse them by saying “look at me”. Yeah, that’s not going to help. Force of habit. But for that emotional connection in a photo, eye contact is essential. Prep them. Show them exactly where you want them to look. Then good luck. Ha!
The Older Generation
Let’s not forget the other end of the spectrum. If you don’t often see the older members of your family, make sure you get a few snaps of them too. This is my Grandad, taken last christmas. He rarely plays these days so it was a special treat and a very fun addition to the festivities.
The Whole Family
If you have distant relatives visiting from far flung corners of the globe, you can’t possibly miss the opportunity to get a group shot. The trickiest part here is getting all of you in the shot. Yes ALL of you, including YOU. If you have a camera or phone with a self-timer option, make sure you set it up safely and have everyone else in place ready to go. It’s best to have smaller children being held onto so they don’t run off too soon. Try to vary the heights of people’s heads so you don’t end up with a straight line across the shot.
If this full family shot is really important to you this year, consider hiring a professional to get it spot on. Maybe a Leicestershire portrait photographer who offers useful tips in her blogs!
And if your family are local to Leicestershire and are big fans of family photos (you should be able to tell from glancing around the walls of their homes), then take a look at my gift vouchers page and consider buying them a truly personal present they will never forget.