Last Christmas, I achieved a first. Documenting my family’s Christmas Day. Let me reiterate and just say I documented the morning, because that’s the real show isn’t it? It’s all downhill after the presents have been opened. Then it’s watching A Christmas Story, all the old classics, eating food, and napping while the kids play. So, I documented Christmas morning in all reality, and with us being in a new place for Christmas this year, I plan on documenting the day again this year. Here are my shots from last year, along with some tips for documenting your family’s holiday!
Tip #1 – Set the Scene
Show where the action is going to happen, before it happens. Documenting Christmas, or the holiday you’re celebrating – it can be Easter, Halloween, whatever – is like telling a story. So you want to show where the main part of your story is going to happen. On Christmas, it’s like showing the calm before the storm of wrapping paper and toys.
Last year, my son wasn’t necessarily happy at being woken up early, he didn’t care what day it was!
After waking up, it was time for breakfast! Don’t be afraid to take photos as everyone is enjoying it. You never know what candids you can get! Cinnamon rolls are a traditional staple for any holiday in our house. And coffee for the adults, of course.
Tip #2 – The Action Begins
Here we arrive at the nitty gritty. The central focus of your story. For Easter it can be the egg hunt, for Halloween the trick or treating. On Christmas Day, it’s opening presents! Then of course, if you’re like me, you wind the story down with the kids playing with their toys. Our daughter was a little young for “playing” so she just chewed on stuff.
Tip #3 – The Whole Family
This is where I give a tip without a photo to accompany it. When all is said and done, get a photo of the entire family, and if possible, include yourself in it. I tried this last year, but none of the photos I took came out right. This is something I’ll be attempting again this year, and hopefully I will get it right this time around!
At the end of the day, documenting your family’s holiday can be a very rewarding experience, not only for you as a photographer (documentary/lifestyle photography is a challenge in itself), but as a parent who gets to have a day of new memories to potentially frame or send to loved ones for future greeting cards!
Enjoy your holidays!