The one day you really want to get great pictures is Christmas morning as the kids are opening presents. Here are some tips to make sure that you get perfect pictures that people will want to see.
More after the jump:
Start on Christmas Eve by making sure your batteries are charged. Nothing is more disappointing than lining up the perfect, once in a lifetime, shot of your child opening a present only to discover your battery has just died. Okay, so there are things more disappointing but let me just tell you, missing the perfect, once in a lifetime, shot of your child opening a present only to discover your battery has just died is pretty doggone disappointing. Charge those batteries now.
Chiristmas morning make sure the room is lit well enough to get good exposures. I always cram soft boxes in the corners of the room but if you are void of soft boxes you can always open up the curtains and blinds for some wonderful natural light. Not enough natural light? Turn on some lights but stay away from mixing tungsten and flurescents or tungsten and natural, etc. Mixing light types doesn't play well with white balance, which reminds me... don't forget to set your white balance to the light you are using.
Set yourself up for the first shot of the morning by getting a shot of the children as they discover the stuff left by Santa. Get them just as they enter the room for those priceless expressions. When they are opening presents, get your butt off the couch and get down on the floor with them. Shots from their level are the best and the lower you can go, the better. Don't be afraid to lay down. Get in close and fill the frame. Don't be afraid to chop off parts of their head and body when framing the shot. I say this compostionally as I would never recommend the actual chopping of children or people in general but I think you know what I mean.
Once the presents are unwrapped, don't forget about the animals. Fido with a bow on his head might be annoying to him but it makes for a cute picture. Cats love boxes and wrapping paper so don't forget about them. Get some pictures of the kids playing with their new bounty. I'm sure Aunt Martha would love to see some closely cropped photos of Junior in her hand made bunny pajamas as well. It's also a good time to set that camera on self timer to get a portrait of the family around the Christmas tree. Be sure to set your shutter speed slow enough so that those twinkling lights will show up.
Merry Christmas everyone! May God bless each and every one!