What to photograph at Christmas, a few suggestions

Should we put our cameras away, forget about our smartphones for a few hours, and 'be present' in the moment to make the most of the holidays?

When I look through my old Christmas photos, I see a lot of decorations, and a lot of people opening their gifts. And some food and group portraits. What I don't see are pictures of the decorations being unpacked from their boxes, or mum preparing the turkey, of breakfast together or of laughing around the fire with a few glasses of wine in the evening. 

Think about the moments that mean a lot to you. The stories that you might want to remember. I'm planning to have a camera ready, not to use all the time but to capture a few of those candid moments that I want to remember. Many of us don't see our families very often so make the most of time you do have together, and for me that includes making some photographs.

So, a few suggestions if you're celebrating Christmas with family or friends:

Portraits - why not take a few portraits of family or friends. Ask a relative what they remember most or enjoy most about Christmas and see if you can capture some of that emotion. Taking an individual portrait can be a great excuse to engage with someone more personally than we might do otherwise.

Candid moments - not just at mealtime (or slumped and exhausted afterwards) but the little moments of preparation, or celebration or joy, a phonecall to a distant friend, or the greetings for a late arrival. Personally these are the images that I always look for at events but often forget to photograph when I'm with family.

Details - a wedding photographer might call them the vignette shots, the little details that aren't the central story but make up the occasion.  Decorations, food, gifts, a glass of wine left to one side. Try some macro or bokeh shots. You could use decorative lights to help light a portrait too.

Whether you photograph a lot or a little or not at all, I hope you have a peaceful and joy-filled time over the holidays.

 An Arthur family moment, Christmas 2014

An Arthur family moment, Christmas 2014