While not everyone celebrates Christmas, most people celebrate some sort of holiday this time of year and it’s a great time to protect memories using all that fancy camera gear you have laying around the house.

Here are some tips to make your holiday photography more fun and more meaningful.

1. Charge up your batteries, re-read your camera manual and shake off the cobwebs BEFORE the big day. There’s nothing worse than having to fumble with your camera while grandma is giving you that once-in-a-lifetime smile as she opens her holiday gifts.

2. Try to tell a story. Photograph all the people, but also don’t forget to take pictures of gifts, the wrapping paper, the bows, the tree or other ceremonial objects. Also don’t forget the big holiday buffet (before you start to eat it all up thank you.)

3. Mix it up. Shoot video and stills. Keep your video clips short. Try to get 20 seconds of great footage here and there rather than 20 minutes of nothing special.

4. Let the action flow. Don’t stress out too much about staging things. Just let the natural scene unfold in front of you. Everyone will have a better time that way and the photos will look more natural.

5. People count. Photograph every person in the room individually and in a group. Make a really nice portrait of everyone in good light with some holiday trapping in the background.

6. Think light. If you’re shooting indoors, strategically place a few of those LED lanterns you can buy at most hunting or hardware stores. They don’t give off heat and they’re better than in-your-face, on-camera flash. Don’t forget to set your camera’s white balance in advance to match the color of these lights.

7. Don’t Forget You! Too many times, the family photographer never, ever shows up in the family photos. Make sure to learn how to use your camera’s timer so that you can jump into the action and have some fun too. Ask someone else to take a turn with the camera while you open gifts, enjoy conversation or have a great meal. Your family wants to see you in these shots too.

This could be a great time to demonstrate the value of your passion for photography to your friends and family when it will count. The memories you  and your camera capture over the holidays can be some of the most precious down the road when you’re looking back at this time of your life.

This post sponsored by X-Rite Color and the ColorChecker Passport

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