Christmas is the one time of year when the whole family gets together for a special celebration, and there is always at least one family member with a camera. We all know how important it is to take photos at this time of year, for us to preserve and cherish, so how can you learn to take better family photographs this year?

family photograph on Christmas

Jon Arnold /

Remember, if you’re the designated photographer then there are things you can do to dramatically improve the quality of the photographs you take. So regardless of whether you are shooting with film or digital, everyone can learn something from these 5 tips for taking family photographs this Christmas.

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Catch them by surprise : Everyone expects to have to lean in around the table over Christmas dinner for the obligatory photograph, or raise a glass with siblings and wait for the flash from the camera. We are used to being asked to pose for photographs, but the best images are almost always the spontaneous shots of people in conversation or children opening presents. You don’t need to ask permission – just snap away!


Don’t take the obvious shot : Having said that, you don’t always have to take photographs of kids unwrapping presents. It’s often much more interesting to take shots of less obvious moments, such as someone cracking a joke around the table or everyone helping out with the cooking in the kitchen. It’s difficult to see whether an image works through a viewfinder, but you might be pleasantly surprised when you see your photos later on.


Let the kids run wild : Let the other adults try to control the kids this year. It’s your job to encourage them! That’s right, wild kids make excellent photography subjects, so trail them around the house and snap as many photographs as you can of them tearing up wrapping paper, running around the garden and causing general chaos. Everyone will thank you for your hard work later, when they see the photographs!


Power crop your portraits : There’s an old saying that if a photograph isn’t interesting enough then you need to move in closer. It’s the same thing with portrait photography. Most of the photographs you take over Christmas will probably be portraits, so try to make them a little more interesting by cropping in tight around the subject. You don’t always need to frame the whole face, so move in close and experiment with taking images at an angle.


Never run out of storage : The most important thing to remember is never to run out of storage! Make sure you take plenty of SD cards, batteries and film (if you’re using it). If you are shooting with film or have old film Christmas photographs that you want to convert to digital then you can send your film off to companies like MyPhotoScanning for photo scanning services and digital photograph conversion.

Have fun taking photographs this Christmas and good luck!