5 Steps to Better Holiday Photos

There’s one in every family – the person who always seems to have a camera at the ready. The one who regularly hears, “Can you send me a copy of that photo?”

Little PhotographerThe holidays are busy times. Many of us are too busy to really focus on documenting all the happy events, so we opt for poses and more typical photography fare.

Erin Nelson, a family photographer in the San Francisco Bay area, who has received a Family Favorite award from Bay Area Parent readers, offers these tips for making the most of your camera during the holiday season:

1. Getting there is half the fun. We all have photos of people opening gifts. This year, try capturing “behind-the-scenes” shots of gift wrapping and holiday cooking. “When I was growing up, we photographed our impressive spread of 24 dozen-sugar cookies, before and after decorating with icing and sprinkles,” Nelson offers. “Nothing is cuter than flour-covered kids in aprons!

2. Resist the urge to get everyone in one big photo. Rounding up all the friends and relatives at your holiday gathering not a lot of fun. Sitting still and saying “cheese” isn’t either. Try taking several photos throughout your get-together and then make a collage or insert them into a frame with multiple openings.

3. Look at the bigger picture. Focus on the entire experience, rather than just a few specific dates on the calendar. Traditionally, Nelson says, Christmas Day was the beginning of the holiday season, not the end. Capture a little bit of every day with your loved ones during this shared time away from work and school.

4. Pay attention to detail. You’ve put a lot of time and work into creating special holiday touches in your home. In addition to snapping little ones with toys and old friends laughing, take some close-ups of your fresh pine-bough wreath or your family’s heirloom ornament. These will add to your memories and make your collection of images a more interesting story.

5. Put down the camera.
“This is the hardest thing for shutterbugs, me included, since we love to document our lives and our families in pictures!” Nelson says. Try handing your camera to someone else for awhile. Or be content to capture the moment by living it and let your memories be your camera.

– Adapted by Deirdre Wilson, Updated August 2012