Capturing Holiday Memories in Photos

Christmas Baby
Our youngest daughter last year

Have you stopped to think about how amazing photography really is?

With the click of a button, we can preserve memories, emotions and moments forever in time. I love looking at old pictures and trying to figure out the stories behind them (like my friend Amanda’s retro Wordless Wednesday series!), and I hope that one day my pictures will be a gift to future generations trying to learn more about our family and culture.

I think that in some ways we have a responsibility to capture our family on camera — for ourselves as we get older, for our kids and their future spouses and children, and for future generations. But sometimes that’s easier said than done, right?

As we head into the holiday season with family get-togethers and plenty of opportunities for taking photos, be sure to refer back to my tips for capturing memories in photos. Here are a few more specifically for the holidays:

1. Focus on relationships.

Although a lot of our family lives within a few hours of us, we still only see some of them a few times a year. I love to capture the relationships between the cousins and second cousins on my husband’s side, and  to see our grandparents interacting with our kids.

It can be tough to get these photos, with a dozen people milling around between you and the perfect photo opp, but it’s SO worth it. Rather than making everyone pose, just try walking around quietly with your camera and capturing the little moments between the people you love.

2. Capture it all.

Get pictures of the pile of presents waiting to be opened, the special ornaments you hang on your tree and your wassail simmering on the stove, and then take pictures of the mound of discarded wrapping paper, the empty casserole dishes and the kids hunched over in their seats on the way home from a family get-together.

Take your camera when you go to see Christmas lights or a live nativity, and capture your toddler’s messy face after decorating cookies with a group of friends. Get pictures of your kids delivering cookies to the neighbors, attempting to wrap presents or shopping for the perfect present for Daddy.

I am one of those people who pretty much loves everything about Christmas, and this year I hope to capture the wonder and the magic of it all!

3. Get group shots.

I know my first tip was to focus on the quiet moments and not just the group shots, but there’s something to be said for getting a picture of everybody together, so make time at the beginning or end of every get-together to usher everybody into place for a few group photos.You’ll be glad you did!

But remember, it doesn’t matter if some of the kids bury their faces in their laps or if someone blinks, so don’t get frustrated if you can’t capture the “perfect” group shot!

4. Don’t forget the video camera.

Last year we set up our video camera and recorded our girls walking down the steps on Christmas morning. Their eyes lit up, and I’m glad I captured that moment on film. It won’t be that long before they’re waking up somewhere else on Christmas morning, and I know I’ll treasure that video in the years to come.

5. Tears are okay too.

I don’t know about your family, but our holiday celebrations almost always include a meltdown of some sort from a child or two, but I think they add to the photo story, so go ahead and take pictures of the meltdowns too! If nothing else, they’ll be good for a bribe at some point.

Those are my tips for capturing your holiday memories, but I’ve just scratched the surface. If you want to capture your holiday celebrations like never before, be sure to sign up for the Finding the Holiday Joy e-journey from Willette Designs. I’ve participated in the two other Finding the Joy courses, and Kelly does an amazing job of putting together an e-journey that benefits beginners and professionals alike!

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