6 Tips for Photographing the Holidays

The holiday season brings with it a unique energy, from bustling days of gift shopping and social events to momentous family trips and heartwarming celebrations. In this flurry of activity, there will be plenty of picturesque moments (big and small) to capture on camera. The key to documenting your own holiday story is taking a variety of photos with different kinds of content and shooting techniques. Then when it comes time to create a family photo book, you’ll have a collection of memories that reflect all the joy and wonder of the season.

Here are a few easy and essential tips for photographing the holidays.

1. Create a story around family and friends

At holiday gatherings, we tend to whip out our cameras for posed group portraits. While these are must-have images for any album, there are all kinds of in-between scenes that add to the story. Consider candid shots of people cozied up by the fire or huddled around a board game. Every family event brings together a cast of unique characters and personalities, so remember to include pictures of individuals, too. And don’t forget the cute and cuddly pets!

2. Capture the seasonal mood

In most places, it’s hard to ignore the weather when winter rolls around. Even in milder climates, we associate the shift in seasons with shorter periods of daylight and changing landscapes. For background shots with a holiday feel, keep an eye out for vibrant city streets as well as natural scenes and wildlife. Take photos during different times of day or night, and try zooming in on festive lights or glowing candles. A little blur is ok sometimes, and it can help create a dreamy, nostalgic, or peaceful mood.

3. Mix in moments of food and celebration

Food is such a central part of holiday celebrations, so take the time to photograph all those traditional dishes and tantalizing treats you look forward to all year. Pictures of a colorful table setting or steaming mugs of cocoa go a long way to evoke the senses. If the cooks and bakers in your family don’t mind, go behind the scenes in the kitchen to capture cookie-making or special recipes in action. And of course, raise a glass (and a camera!) when family members start making toasts.

4. Follow the action

The more people there are in one place, the faster things happen. Be ready to take spontaneous shots of everyone (especially kids!) on the move—hanging ornaments or unwrapping gifts one minute, and enjoying family sports or snowy adventures the next. Try setting your camera to burst mode or taking short videos if you want to record more of the action, start to finish.

5. Don’t forget the details

We tend to gravitate toward the big reveal or grand finale when taking photos, but no holiday story is complete without the little moments. Experiment photographing people, rooms, and objects from different angles and perspectives, by getting down low or moving in for a close-up. When flipping through a photo album, it can also be fun to encounter shots of people partway out of the frame, in silhouette or profile, or simply feeling playful—showing off happy feet in cozy socks, maybe? Keep it interesting by mixing up the compositions and the subject matter.

6. Take it on the road

There is nothing quite like a holiday road trip! Instead of putting on the lens cap until you reach your destination, take your camera out during the journey so you can snap pictures of the changing scenery. From backseat selfies to roadside attractions, give yourself time to soak up the excitement of going places. Getting outside your everyday routine can also invite moments of spontaneity and creativity. Have fun capturing your holiday story one moment at a time!


Do you have a collection of holiday photos or favorite images just waiting to become a keepsake? Design your own photo book today, then print and share your special collection with friends and family.




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