Taking christmas photos when your family hate them

Capturing Christmas on film when you’ve got reluctant family

One of the things that Christmas provides for everyone is memories. Generally good memories, with many of them captured on camera to look back on over the years.  As children, our parents take photos to put in albums and years later we look back on them and remember the present, or the games, the food and the family get togethers. Especially when you’ve lost family members and Christmas changes, gets smaller, or bigger, or just different, capturing Christmas through photos are a way to journal that timeline. And look back and enjoy the details.

I love to look back on old photos. As I don’t have my parents or grandparents here any more, it’s harder to remember my childhood Christmasses. It’s just snippets I share with N as and when memories pop up. I’d like him to be able to remember his Christmasses, although we don’t have photos.

Yes, for someone like me who snaps a lot of photos across the days, especially when we go out and about, we probably have about 2 photos from each of our Christmasses that actually have people in.

The OH hates photos, and hates people snapping away. He does sometimes get out old family photos at the farm to show N, but we have nothing of our family traditions apart from a handful of surreptitious and bad photos I’ve tried to get. Because for me, when it’s just N left, maybe with his own family, how is he going to remember.

Taking christmas photos when your family hate them

Our Christmasses aren’t huge blingy affairs, they do usually involve family for tea and present giving. But those days at home, the present opening, the excitement of stockings. I miss being able to capture that on camera to look back on and enjoy the memories. To remind me that there was a bit of magic, that Christmas wasn’t just a work day on the farm with the OH at home for more of the day than usual.

You can still remember a bit of the magic even if you’ve got people who don’t like photos.  Your phone camera is the answer, although you obviously won’t be able to control the light as well as with a DSLR or similar camera.

Tips for capturing Christmas on film

1, Decorations

Capture the smallest to overall displays to share some of the magic and context

2, Tablescape

With and without food. Try getting photos of hands reaching for dishes, or handing them to others.

3, Use timers and angles

Set up cameras at different angles around the room – to capture shots every so many minutes. From the side, from above. Hopefully people will forget they’re there, and you’ll get some interesting shots.

4, Zoom in for details

If people don’t like being in photos, try zooming in to get details like hands opening presents, lighting candles, playing games, Christmas jumper patterns, wrapping paper and decorations.

5, Take one shot every half hour

If you don’t want to be snapping all the time, just take one shot to reflect each hour or half house. It’ll make you think more about what photo to take.

6, Hand out cameras

Give cameras to the children – disposables, phones or polaroids. You’ll get a different view of Christmas, and people are more likely to accept being in a photo taken by children.

7, Agree set photos ahead of the day

If you just want a couple of family photos of specific times – opening the stockings, present opening, lunch, then agree up front with those who don’t like photos, that you’ll just take photos at this point. Then none the rest of the day. Hopefully there would be some agreement for everyone to be in the shot.

8, Make a mini documentary

Even if you don’t film videos of your Christmas, you can still create mini day in the life films using photos.

My theory is always, get the children involved because if they’re interested in having photos and looking at them years down the line, they’ll be more likely to continue.

Hopefully this year, we’ll get some photos of our Christmas, other than just our tree. 

Are you a family that takes lots of Christmas photos?

This post is part of Blogmas

Love it? Share it