Even if your Christmas is steeped in tradition, each and every holiday season is unique. So it's important to make sure you photograph the fleeting moments of family fun and Christmas get-togethers. Russian family photographer Lena Petrova has perfected her method of capturing this special time of the year, both when it comes to the candid shots and the more planned – but still fun and informal – group photos.
Lena’s approach to family photography can be summed up in one sentence: “You will get good shots when everyone forgets about the photo shoot and just enjoys spending time with each other.” This means turning up the music, joking around and playing with the kids – having a jolly time while creating lasting memories.
Whether you’re planning on shooting your own family Christmas card photos this year, or simply want to capture the spirit and atmosphere of the holidays, Lena’s 10 tips below will give you plenty of Christmas picture ideas, and show you how to take family photos at home. Once you’ve got your perfect family Christmas photos, head to Creative Park for endless options to print them, including Christmas card templates, printable picture frames and photo books to give as presents to your loved ones.
"For your candid shots, consider which elements of the holiday are important to you and your family. In addition to decorating the Christmas tree and unwrapping the gifts, there are Christmas market trips, dinner preparations, signing of cards, the excitement of meeting Santa Claus, and no doubt many other things that mean something to you and your loved ones. So make sure you always have your camera ready..."
"The things that create a cozy atmosphere in real life are not always suitable for a neat photograph, so when I shoot portraits in people’s homes, I often move furniture and excess decorations from the frame, including pictures on the wall. I don’t do that for candid shots, but luckily, there are several other ways to adjust the background using just your camera. Not only can you choose a good angle and frame the photograph, but you can also create a blurred background with bokeh by shooting with a wide aperture such as f/1.8."
"For a family portrait, I look for a background that is calm, so it doesn’t draw attention away from the people in the photograph. But it doesn’t have to be plain – you can include a Christmas tree, or fairy lights, to create a holiday atmosphere."