How to take magical Christmas tree photos with your kids is one of my favorite blog posts of the year! It's also one of my favorite photo shoots to do with the kids. I love the spirit of Christmas and the tree is so special and makes the house so festive. This year, as we set up the tree, it was fun to tell the kids about different ornaments and when we got them., making the tree even more special this year. Last year I shared a similar lesson here about photographing magical christmas tree photos with your kids. But let's expand a little more and my settings were a tad different because our tree is in another part of our house (thanks to my rearranging everything while nesting when pregnant with Hudson!).
SET UP: You're still going to want to start by turning that flash off on your camera! I also put my kids in Christmas jammies to set the tone of the images! And I cleaned up the toys in the living room so I didn't have to worry about them in the background. I also decided which direction I was going to shoot at. I decided to shoot into my living room instead of from my living room like I did last year. I wanted to be able to use the hardwoods to bounce a little bit of light onto them.
CAMERA SETTINGS: I used my 35mm lens because I knew that I wanted a few shots with all three kids and to be able to get the whole tree in the frame. I started by setting my ISO to 2000. I knew that because we are dealing with a low light situation I would need a high ISO. Next I set my aperture to f/1.8. (If your lens cannot go as low, you will need to start with a higher ISO if possible). Then I selected a shutter speed of 80. This is pretty slow for fast kids, but I was laying on the floor for stability and had them sitting in one area to help with motion blur.
Note: Get your camera settings straight before you enlist your kids help. They have a short attention span and you don't want to be wasting precious time and missing adorable moments tweaking your settings!
Once your settings are set, have fun with it! Try different angles, have the kids play with wrapped presents (probably not their own, just in case they get curious...), and my favorite is playing I-SPY on the tree. I collect Starbucks cup ornaments and so I asked Milo how many he could count and captured him in action. The kids are playing I-SPY....Milo is always working hard on reading, so I had him read a few tags to me. Doesn't it look like he might open that present?! He didn't! But I love the photo.
I enlisted dad's help for this one. I thought that Hudson might tackle the tree, but she has actually left it alone. But with daddy holding her and encouraging her to explore, she reached out to touch the tree.
A final tip is to not try to do photos like this Christmas morning. The kids will be too excited to be patient while you try to capture a few fun photos. That's why I get these done earlier in the month, and even offered up some cupcakes as a sweet reward for playing along!
P.S. I hope you're saving your favorite holiday photos! In just a few weeks the annual Holiday Photo Contest will be back! And a Neyssa Lee Photography Studio gift certificate is on the line. Stay tuned. And make sure you are signed up for my newsletter.