Which got me to thinking...these particular images are supposed to be candid, and fun, and be about the memories. They aren't just for me - they are for my kids, when I am gone. I DON'T want my grand kids asking "So, where is Grandma? Why isn't she in ANY of these?"
So here are a few tips to have a smooth, worry-free Christmas Morning Photo Session, without it feeling like one! And with YOU in the frame! Get in there and enjoy the moments, and let the pictures take care of themselves with this handy list of tricks.
Depending on how crazy your house is, set up the night before. Make sure you have an out-of-the-way spot for the tripod. Make sure it is elevated on a box or stack of books, for the best vantage point.
2. Clear the Clutter. Stow any magazines, shoes, etc. before you start.
My goal is to have it look as much like a photo backdrop, without adding anything that I wouldn't have in real life. So, presents, tree, and some seating or floor cushions, and the usual decorations in our case. We moved our dog bed, shoe rack, and misc mail before we started. This part is really up to you.
3. Stage the Scene - Within Reason!
When you want to have everyone in frame, you might need to move furniture around. In our living room, none of the seating is all facing one way. For our pictures, I rearranged a chair so that it was facing toward the camera.
4. Stage the Lighting - Again Within Reason!
Remember,t his is home photos, not a professional shoot. Not everyone will have their tree by a window, or with just the right lighting. That is not to say that you can't check the scene, turn on a light or open a shade, and make adjustments before you start.
5. Charge your battery the night before!
Nothing is worse than having everything set up perfectly, and not having any battery power. Have two batteries charged, if you have them.
6. Check your Aperture.
Remember, a lower aperture number means less in focus (one person) and a higher aperture number means more is in focus (more than one person).
7. Check Your Focus.
Set your focus to continuous mode, so it will stay focused how you want it. Then, have someone stand near the tree and focus your shot. Continuous mode will hold the focus you choose even while the subject is moving, as long as you keep holding the shutter button down.
8. Go Hands-Free.
Set your camera in Continuous mode. Also set the interval at 30 seconds. Usually this will have you covered for 10 minutes per remote shutter click. This will help you catch the chaos of the morning!
9. Set your Other Settings.
Depending on how light or dark your room is, you will need to adjust your ISO. A higher ISO number is for lower light settings, a lower ISO number is for higher light settings.
Avoid motion blur by using a higher shutter speed.
10. Just Shoot.
Make sure you brush your hair and have some coffee before you start. But other than that, relax and have fun! Don't worry about creating art, this is about creating memories!