As some of you already know, I did a stint of professional photography, and still take photos for family and friends. I have been taking my family’s Christmas photos for 5 years now. With myself in the picture, you may ask–how do you do it? I’m here to tell you! Don’t worry, this isn’t a “look how great my pics are!” type of post. It’s more of a “look, these turned out decent, despite the fact that I took them myself”) With the Richmond half marathon last weekend, and Thanksgiving coming up quick, I had to get these done this weekend. Ok, so here’s what to do:
Step 1. Relax. Take deep breaths, and realize that this won’t be easy (if you have kids/pets to wrangle), but will be worth it when you have cute xmas cards! The more family members you have, the bigger the challenge! As you get frustrated, remember: deep breaths, and count to 10 if needed 😉 If you’re a mom, everyone is looking to you–your attitude will set the tone.
Step 2. Plan. While on a short run yesterday, I planned out everyone’s outfits, more or less. I recommend a similar color scheme, but not too “match-matchy.” This year we went with blue/green tops, with khaki pants. Last year was gray/red/blue tops with jeans. You get the idea. I don’t have the patience nor the money to do the kind of outfits below, but I tried my best!
Step 3. Date/time. I enjoy the local park (Triad) or Botanical Gardens. I thought I might try a more urban setting, like downtown Winston-Salem, but I love nature and wanted some fall foliage in the pics. Also, and more importantly!, plan out the time of day. I like to do the half hour before sunset, as it avoids 1) really cold mornings, now that it’s fall, and 2) having to get my family up early (aka the grumpies). Plus, you get really great light (no harsh shadows or squinting-in-the-sun faces). You want your fam to be as happy as possible, so well-rested and fed. For kids/pets, bring along snacks or treats. Wet wipes are a good idea too, for messy faces, or doggy eye boogers (gross but true!)
Step 4. Find a nice spot. Once you’re at location, find a spot you like, with some visual interest. I went with some bright leaves this year, but in years past have done much simpler backdrops.
Step 5. Take the photos. Set up your tripod and 10 second timer, check your shutter speed settings, and start shooting! Make sure you know where you’re going to add yourself. Take LOTS of pics, because the odds of someone not smiling, looking away, blinking, or generally being silly (if you have kids), are quite high. To illustrate this, check out my bloopers–and learn from my mistakes! haha
As it was getting really cold, and the wind had picked up, and I was running out of light (!!), I moved us to another spot nearby. A little too close to the woods, but in a rush, I just went with it.
And finally… we got “The Money Shot”–or rather, as close as we were gonna get:
I took a few more of the kids, dog, and hubby:
I love the way Asher is looking at Gabe in this one:
Then hubby held the leash in one hand, camera in another, to get some of me with the boys:
I will say, it wasn’t my best photo shoot. I had many more shots to choose from last year at the Botanical Gardens. But these will do 🙂 Hope you enjoyed the bloopers as much as we laughed making them. OH, and I almost forgot:
Step 6. Go home, chill for awhile, and have a drink (or a dessert, or both)! You deserve it 🙂