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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas morning pictures with YOU in them!

If you've been reading this blog recently, you know that it has been one of my recent photography goals is to take more photos with ME in them. This is hard for it for me. It doesn't come easily by any means, especially when I literally cringe every time I see a photo with me it in. Can I get an Amen? But I remind myself of something very important, these pictures that have me in them really aren't for me at all. They are for my children, and the years to come. These photos create a legacy for years and maybe even generations to come. I want my children to see me in their lives when they look back. I want them to see a mother that loved them on them so much and was intentional with them. 

So one of the ways I'm getting in the photos more often this year is by using an interval remote to take photos of family activities. I used it here at Thanksgiving and here when we made Christmas cookies
And I'm planning on using is again when we open presents on Christmas morning, and (gulp!) I'm going to be in them jammies, no make up and bed head and all! Will you do it too? For your kids? I think it's one of the best gifts you could give them this Christmas! 

So here's a little more guidance. 

To take photos with you in them like this, you'll need 
  • a DSLR or mirrorless camera
  • a wide(r) angle lens - I recommend a 35mm or 50mm. 
  • a tripod or a sturdy place to set your camera
  • an interval remote (also called a intervalometer. Like this one and this one that I have. Some Nikon cameras have this feature built into the camera which is great! But sadly Canon cameras do not.
Step 1 - Ahead of time you're going to need to figure out how to use your camera's timer if it has this feature built in or an interval timer. Ultimately we want a timer that will take a large series of photos at regular intervals that you determine, for example taking 1 photo every 30 seconds for 100 frames. Weather your camera has this feature built in or now, you'll want to figure out how to set it up and use it ahead of time. 

Step 2 - The night before, get your camera and equipment ready. Get your camera out and make sure your battery is charged and your memory card has plenty of room. If you have one, go ahead and get a tripod out too. Set it up with the camera on it, in a place that has a good view of the scene, right where the presents are going to be opened but still out of the way. If you don't have a tripod, place your camera on a safe and sturdy surface, like up high a book shelf or on a table. If your camera has a strap on it, make sure the strap is not dangling down. We wouldn't want your camera to take a tumble. 

Step 3 - Now let's set the focus. Ahead of time, (maybe that's the night before or Christmas morning) have someone sit by the Christmas tree where the family will be opening their presents. Lock your focus on this person. Then turn your lens to manual focusing so the focus won't change. 

Step 3 - On Christmas morning, depending on your skill level put your camera in Auto mode. If you're comfortable shooting in Aperture priority mode and setting the aperture too then use Aperture Priority mode, but be sure to close down your aperture (that's using a high number. I suggest f/5.6 or higher) to help ensure that most of the people in the scene are going to be in focus. If you're comfortable shooting in Manual mode, then go for it and really this is the recommended method! Depending on what time your Christmas morning starts, there may not be very much light. Don't be afraid to increase your ISO if you need to. Maybe you've seen a YouTube video that told you to keep your ISO as low as possible, and yeah that's true... if you can. But really it's better to increase your ISO than to have blurry photos. 

Step 4 - Next, go ahead and activate that timer/interval timer. Set it so it takes a photo every 30 seconds or every minute and walk away! 

Step 5 - Now get down on the floor and enjoy opening gifts on Christmas morning with your family! Be in the moment. Laugh and love with the most important people you know! Be intentional and be present in the moment. Gush over the gifts they lovingly made you and listen to their stories. Talk about why we give gifts and reason for the season. Forget about the camera, those grey hairs that might be showing, your bed head and how you never like how you look in photos, and just enjoy Christmas morning. 

From experience I know that these sweet years that children believe in Christmas magic passes much more quickly than I ever expected, and before I knew it, they're not able to come home for Christmas anymore. (Sunny I miss you!) So use the timer or remote and cherish these sweet moments while you still can. And you'll have some great photos to remember them by too. 

And have a very merry Christmas! 

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