5 Christmas Morning Picture Rules

Photographer Keith Pitts on how to make the most of the moment

Over the summer, photographer Keith Pitts took amazing pictures of my kids.  No one has ever captured my children like Keith. He describes his style as improvisational portraiture and goes on to explain, “The best photography is like jazz, and must be played collaboratively and spontaneously, inventing a totally unique experience every time.” He does just this!

Today Keith is sharing five rules for photographing your kids on Christmas morning. He’s stresses that these are really just general guidelines. Feel free to break any of them, interpreted in your own way, or completely ignore all of them. This is one way he likes to do it, but it’s but not the only way. Have fun and play around with what works for you, your family, and your camera.

#1 Start the Night Before: In order to tell the complete story of the day, take pictures of Santa’s cookies, the tree before the kids wake up, your children sleeping, stockings hanging on the mantle.

#2 Let There be Light! Get as much light in the room as you can. Turn up ambient lighting and open shades. You want to be able to use natural light as much as possible. Try to keep flash on your camera OFF!

#3 Find Their Perspective:  Get down on the ground with your kids while they are opening presents.

#4 Don’t Forget the Detail Shots: A favorite ornament, a bow on a present, ripped wrapping paper—you can tell a beautiful story by including these pictures.

#5 Get Creative! For an interesting shot of your kids opening up their gifts under the tree, use a tripod, turn up ambient lighting, turn flash off, and use longer exposure setting. Do this by setting the dial on the big P: Program Mode, focus on the tree (your kids should be ripping open their gifts). The result should be a great shot of your tree and children with motion blur!