rhn-picture-perfect-christmas-3Rebekah Norton, contributing writer 

Is there anything more magical than Christmas morning? As an adult, Christmas can lose some of it’s magic, but once you have kids the magic comes back in full force. I love seeing my son’s face light up as he opens his presents and gets excited about each gift. I want to bottle his excitement up and replay it on days when the terrible two’s start to take over.

I’ve found the best way to bottle that excitement up is to take photos, so I can go back and enjoy them anytime. As a “momtographer” I’ve learned how to capture these priceless moments and turn them into beautiful memories to look back on for years to come.

1. Use natural light. Any photographer will tell you if you want to improve your photos the best thing to do is use natural light. Natural light gives your photos a softer look as opposed to the harsh light a flash gives off. The easiest way to use natural light when you’re indoors is to open your blinds and let light come in from the window. You’ll want the light to fall on your subject’s face, so don’t have your kids stand or sit directly in front of the window. Instead, stand with your back to the window and then take the photos. If you don’t have a lot of natural light where you’ll be taking photos, invest in daylight light bulbs. They’re the next best thing because they don’t give off yellow tones like regular bulbs.

2. Don’t make your kids pose. Most Christmas photos feature a forced smile and a child holding up their new present. It’s a timeless pose, but it doesn’t capture the magic of Christmas. Instead of having your kids pose for each photo, try taking the photos while they’re opening or playing with their presents. You’ll be able to catch the light in their eyes as they enjoy their gift, and that’s what is really priceless. Plus, nothing changes moods from happy to annoyed quicker than pestering kids to look and smile at the camera.

3. Don’t be afraid to use your phone. A camera is only as good as the person behind it, and a fancy camera isn’t going to turn you into a great photographer. If you aren’t interested in learning how to use a camera, then don’t worry about investing in one. Most phones take amazing photos and are much more convenient to use than an expensive camera. Plus, it’s so easy to share your perfect Christmas moments on Instagram when they’re already on your phone!

4. Take one family photo. I know I told you not to pose your kids, but this is the one exception. I think taking one family photo on Christmas morning is a must. Set everyone up in front of the Christmas tree and snap a quick photo. The most important aspect of this is that everyone is in the photo. That means you too, mom. Prop your camera up, use a tripod if you have one or grab a selfie stick — whatever it takes so no one is behind the camera.

One final tip: Don’t forget to enjoy Christmas morning! It’s great to take photos to remember the special day, but if you’re obsessed with taking a picture and miss the actual moment it’s not nearly as special.