How to Take the Best Pictures on Christmas Day

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Christmas morning is full of photo ops: sleepy eyes, giggles, energetic kiddos, and maybe some grumpy faces. Check out these photography tips from professional photographer and Life as MOM contributor, Alex Maldonado, to capture those memories.

Christmas is just around the corner and like most parents as our kids are engulfed in a sea of gifts we’ll be stuck behind a camera of some sorts trying to capture the magic.

Here are a few tips on making this process more enjoyable for everyone.

1. Pick the right tool.

Choosing the right tool for a job is often the most important part of the “job”. As parents one of our  “jobs” is documenting the lives of our little ones. Even though I’m a professional photographer, I find myself taking fewer and fewer photos of my kids.

Don’t worry , they are still being documented, I’m just choosing a better tool: Video. Video is becoming easier and easier to shoot and share. Video is also the perfect tool for something like Christmas morning.

Let’s run a little test: Take a look at these pictures.

The kids ares excited right? Photos worked. Video would have been overkill. Don’t be so sure….

Watch this video:

When it comes to capturing something fast paced, video is actually easier. You can get every single moment, not just the split second that you snapped a photo. You also get the HUGE benefit of sound. Something that you’ll love to have as the years go by and those tiny voices get older.

(Side Note: I know it’s easier to share & view photos than video, but that is changing very, very quickly. We’ll tackle that topic on a later post. For now, just shoot, shoot, shoot.)

2. Light It Up.

One of the easiest ways to improve your family videos is by turning on lights. Make the room a bit brighter. You might even consider bringing in an extra lamp.

This will make your camera not have to work as hard and everything will come out a bit better looking. There is nothing worse than having your kid do something adorable and then going back later to watch it and realize the room was so dark you can barely see it. A flick of the light switch and a few more lights can really help with this.

3. Chillax.

This is the main thing to keep in mind. In case you forgot. IT’S CHRISTMAS MORNING!!!!!!! Your kids don’t care about smiling for you, looking at you, or even acknowledging your presence. We are lucky if we get a high five as they storm past us to set up the new train set.

Just remember that asking them to stop, look, and smile after every other present “may” kill the mood a bit. I promise that in 10 years you would much rather look back on a video of them tearing through box after box than a video of you yelling at them to smile for the 20th time. 🙂

What’s your favorite Christmas morning memory?

Do you have it documented somewhere? Share you story in the comments.

— AlexM is a Texas-based wedding photographer. He specializes in buying lots of expensive gear for his “clients” and then using it at home to take better photos of his kids. Visit his website or shoot the breeze with him on twitter

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  1. Great tips – thanks! The Nintendo video reminds me of the Christmas when my brother got some Transformer he had been begging for – Megatron or something like that. (I don’t know, but I’m sure he would correct me!) Anyway, my parents got awesome pictures (this was before we had a video camera) of him tearing open the package and then thrusting his arm into the air. He was about 7 and wearing ninja pajamas or something like that. Still makes me laugh to just think about that moment, which I probably would have forgotten if we didn’t have the pictures.

    1. Since reading this post, I’ve been scrolling through old photos as well as looking at the video. Totally get the point.

      I reminded of so many memories I’d forgotten.

  2. Great tips. Love the video. I recall VERY similar happening when my brother and I received the original nintendo years ago. My mom happened to get it on video too. Makes me smile. :o)

  3. Those are great tips. I also have a Flip video camera which I use sometimes. It is great for taking videos. It also lets me capture photo stills, so i can have my photos and videos both at the same time 🙂 Greetings from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

    1. We’ve got a flip camera, too. Really easy for the kids to use, so we get some interesting perspective.

  4. You have motivated me to make sure the video camera or Flip is charged and ready.
    My funniest memory is actually from when I was a little girl. I snuck downstairs very early and secretly opened a bunch of presents. I was a little disappointed once I opened them again later because I realized how much I enjoyed the surprise. Now I never peek. 😉