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Your Holiday Memories

Your Holiday Memories

by Russell Burden
Here′s How to Take Meaningful Holiday Photos

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Chanukah, or other seasonal holiday, getting meaningful pictures for the family album is important. Documenting each yearly celebration provides a means to record the growth that you and your loved ones experience. Make a list of what makes the holiday season special to you and record those moments digitally. My list includes special people, moments, and events. Use the following as a baseline resource from which you can create your own. Hopefully you’ll come up with others I haven’t included in that they are near and dear to your heart.

Prior to the actual ‘Big Day” of the season, a lot of activity goes on that should be recorded. People all over the country head to tree cutting farms or forests zoned for that purpose to find the perfect specimen for their living room. Others head to the neighborhood tree market where trees can be purchased. Besides bringing the saw or Visa card, take along a camera to make some pictures of the cutting and choosing.


Tree trimming or the lighting of candles on a menorah are important events of the holidays. If it’s a tree you’re decorating, make some pictures showing the entire evolution form bringing it into the house, setting it in its stand, and completing the trimming. With regards to a menorah, record each day as new candles are lit. For either, try shooting some pictures using just ambient light in the room. A beautiful warm glow will appear in the image. It’s imperative you use a tripod to get a sharp picture as the shutter speed will be slow.


If you have a dog or cat, don’t overlook them as subjects as the tree is brought into the house. In that it’s a new item, their curiosity will be aroused creating the potential for a great candid. In addition to tree trimming, make some shots as dad decorates the outside of the house. Photograph the end results of his efforts at dusk while there’s still some light in the sky. It will produce a pleasing exposure combining the holiday lights and twilight. Do the same for the lights around the neighborhood.


It’s become a tradition in my house for my wife to wake up my son while I photograph the realization on his face that Christmas day has arrived. I then hurry down the stairs so I can capture his expression when he sees the gifts under the tree. Before we open any presents, we do some family shots. I place the camera on a tripod and use the self timer. When present opening begins, the image making continues. When it’s time to open the big gift, I make sure I’m ready to shoot a series, documenting the entire unveiling.


The holiday dinner is a special meal and it should be recorded. Take some pictures of the table before the meal is served. If special friends or relatives are over, have them gather around the table for a group shot. If your holiday week has you going on vacation, take plenty of film and don’t be afraid to shoot it all. The images will allow you to relive the experiences countless times.


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