After all the excitement and hard work that we put into Christmas we want good photos, but they usually don't turn out very well. As a photographer, these are the things that I consider when getting ready to take my family photos.
Where is the natural light in the room? Walk around when the kids are not there and see where the best light is in your room. Make sure you do this in the morning so that it is at the same time of day that you will be shooting.
Light direction. This is part of walking around your room. As your light comes in the room, how does it fall on your model?
Now that you have decided on the spots where the light comes into the room best, place your presents in those spots so that when your kids are opening them or looking at them they will be in the best place for good lighting.
Do you have any dark spots in your room? Consider putting a lamp or a small, inexpensive LED video light in those areas to lighten them up. If you use a lamp, try to use a daylight (5400k-ish) balanced light bulb. Even if you have the seemingly blue tinted light bulbs, they will blend with the natural window light much better than a (3200k) tungsten blub.
When things don't work out just right, shrug it off and don't worry about it. You don't want to force your family into taking a photo that they don't want to take. It will make them hate having their photos taken. Just keep your spirits light and wait for a better opportunity when they have had enough time with their toys and are a little more willing to pose.
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