After weeks of waiting, everyone is looking forward to unwrapping their gifts! And when the time finally comes, that wrapping paper gets ripped off in the blink of an eye! To capture these fleeting moments, you need to be quick and plan ahead.
Start by adjusting the settings on your camera
So as not to miss that magic moment, you need be fast and take non-stop photos for several minutes. This means having enough battery and memory to store your pictures, an important detail for the holiday period, when your camera is click-click-clicking at full speed! Remember to recharge your camera’s battery the night before and make sure that your memory card has enough space left on it. Put the odds in your favour by taking the time to adjust your camera settings in advance. If you know that the light will be dim, set the ISO to 800 and go for a high aperture like 2.8. If the gifts are being unwrapped at night, we would advise you to use an outdoor flash if you have one, and to use your tripod.
Anticipate and prepare the floor
What with all the excitement surrounding the opening of the gifts, you won’t have any control over how the event will unfold! It’s therefore important that you properly prepare the space. If the gifts are being opened in the morning, open the curtains to let more light in. Otherwise, add some extra lighting. Clear the space by pushing the dining table and chairs to the side. By clearing some space, you’ll be able to move about quickly and capture the smallest details. Don’t forget to put on some Christmas music in the background to put both young and old in the right mood! Tip: Don’t ask the kids to smile at the camera, you’ll waste time and the results won’t be as interesting. Bend down, and put yourself at their level. Take close-ups of them with their toys—it’ll give you the best results.
Find a helper
Obviously, you also want to be part of these Christmas memories. So that you can be in some of the pictures, explain how your camera works to another family member ahead of time, because there’s nothing worse than making everybody wait while you give instructions. If your helper isn’t too confident about using your camera, make sure that all the settings are already configured so all that’s left to do is press the button. To be sure to catch several frames in a row over a short period of time, especially with kids running around, ask your parents or friends to join in the photo session using their own camera or their smartphone. Not only will it double the fun, but you’ll be in the Christmas photo album and have some really beautiful pictures!
Before, during, and after: Map out your story
Take advantage of the calm moments just before the gifts are opened to photograph the mountain of gifts, the table set for your Christmas dinner and the stuffed stockings. Now you’re ready. The big moment to hand out the gifts has arrived. Start off by taking a shot of the Christmas tree, the gifts and your guests. If Santa Claus is there, take a low-angle shot of him to emphasize his majestic beard. Don’t be too scared to get closer to your subjects to capture their smiles and embraces. Once all the gifts have been opened, take a few pictures of the torn wrapping paper on the floor. Let the kids wander off with their new toys and photograph them from a distance, if possible with backlighting, for a soft-focus photo.