Capturing the Holidays

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Tis the season of joy, merriment and epic meltdowns. As diligent parents, we must capture all of our offspring’s precious holiday moments in order to look back at them fondly and weep or use them in their high school graduation slide shows. Here are all the ways in which you can capture the holiday season.

In full disclosure, I am not a PROFESSIONAL photographer, I am just your typical mamarazzi who likes to take 1,000 (and I mean thousands) of pics.

1) The Set Up

There is nothing worse than grabbing your camera to take that once-in-a-lifetime shot and the battery is dead. Or trying to take a pic on your phone and the memory is full. Make sure your battery is charged and your memory cards are formatted and ready to go. I capture all our holiday moments using my handy dandy trusty iPhone or my Nikon DSLR. I have to say I do drag my “big camera” around A LOT during the holidays. The digital camera just takes better pics.

2) The OMG Christmas Moment

You know the one I am talking about. The pic that is the epitome of Christmas morning. To really get that genuine “first” reaction I get down on the floor and try to take the picture from their level. One way to show the excitement is to use a slightly slower shutter speed so you can show the joy and anticipation of opening gifts. I also suggest moving some furniture to get a “cleaner” looking photo. Even after the gifts are opened and wrapping paper fills your living room, there are many more “kodak moments” to be captured throughout the day. One moment you should not forget, is to take pictures of the kids not only opening their gifts but playing with their new presents throughout the day.  

3) Photograph Your Traditions

Every family has traditions during the holidays. While no photographer would ever miss the picture of a family member opening presents, it can be easy to forget capturing the little family traditions that make the holiday special to you. If you capture these moments now, you’ll remember them for many years in the future. Putting up the Christmas tree, lighting candles on the menorah, baking cookies with the kids, or leaving out the cookies for Santa. And don’t forget the classic matching PJ’s pic. I love taking pictures of similar setups year after year.

4) The Table Shot & Decorations

If it is part of your family tradition to set a formal table, you might want to capture some photos of the table before everyone sits down. This is a good time to get shots of the centerpiece, the carefully prepared dishes, and the colorful décor. As you drive around your neighborhood this season, you will likely see decorated houses. Maybe you even decorated your own place! Take your camera outside in the evening and capture images of the decorations. Try to keep your camera steady during the long exposure to truly capture the sparkle of the lights. 

5) Get In there Mom!

And by “mom” I mean whoever the family photographer is! In my case it is ME! I always try to hand off my camera to my dad or my husband so that they can capture some shots of me. Moms are usually the ones crafting all the holiday magic, we need to make sure there is photographic evidence of us enjoying it. Once again, not trying to say it always the “mom,” but let’s face it, it usually is.

5) Shoot Candid

There is nothing better than capturing a real smile on a person’s face. For the best “real” photos, try to take photos as the action unfolds, but don’t always feel the need to direct the subject. I think the trick with candid is taking LOTS of pictures. You can always go back later and edit. Make sure to get pictures of different groupings as well. Think grandparents and kids, you will cherish those photos forever. 

6) Don’t Neglect the Group Shot

Whether it’s your family gathering or your “moms’ night out” cookie exchange it just takes one person to speak up and organize the classic group shot. You will usually get some scrooges and nay sayers but don’t listen… EVERYONE loves the group shot once it is taken. I take mine using the timer function on my camera. When taking group shots of kids, bribery is the best medicine in my opinion. 

There you have it! Just grab a camera and start CAPTURING those precious holiday moments! 

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Nikki has called wonderful Fairfield County her home, her entire life. Growing up on a campus of a private school in Greenwich, CT Nikki swore to her educator parents that she would never be a teacher. Well life has a way of repeating itself and now Nikki and her amazingly supportive husband are happily working at a different independent school in Greenwich. A recovering “type a” perfectionist she is learning to let go of her color coding, alphabetizing ways and embrace the mess. Helping her enjoy life’s everyday messes are her two precocious girls Sofie (11/15/11) and Keira (9/7/13). Nikki loves all things mommy cliché including but not limited to walks on the beach, running, reality TV, organizing closets, wine, chocolate and having her kids help her out in the kitchen.

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