5 Top Tips for Photographing on Christmas Day

Polly Blog



Christmas is such a popular time of year to photograph!

There’s an overwhelming urge to grab the camera (or phone) and capture all those lovely Christmassy moments. Who doesn’t get mesmerized by the sparkly lights on our Christmas tree! The variety of decorations adorning our doors, walls, ceilings.. they are everywhere. Then, all the Christmas shows and events, our diaries are jammed full.  From the turning on of the lights to Christmas concerts and carol singing, Christmas work nights out, meals with family and friends! It’s such a fun time of the year. For parents, it can be an even busier time with nativities, pantomimes and Christmas parties. Not to forget the very important visit to see Father Christmas. So many special memories to photograph, can anyone resist the urge to photograph? 

My favourite, favourite times during Christmas are the ones with family and children and watching those little moments.  Decorating the tree, and watching the care the little ones take hanging each bauble. The children’s first sight of presents under the tree, and the excitement of what’s under the wrapping paper. Oh and the little sneaky peeks through the wrapping paper (when they don’t think anyone’s watching). The children’s expressions on Christmas morning, priceless. So many lovely moments. It’s the most wonderful, wonderful time of the year. 


Here are my top tips for photographing on Christmas Day…

Whether you are a parent wanting to capture all those little special moments or someone who just needs to update the annual family photo there’s something below for you. Keep reading :-). 

The Big Day

Christmas has arrived. So many special moments, but the day can often pass over in a blur there is so much going on. There are a few key moments you should gear yourself up to photograph. 


1. Before you start, be ready for that great shot! 

It’s a busy time of the year and it’s all too easy to just grab the camera quickly and take that shot without checking your equipment is working. If your camera hasn’t seen the light of day since your last holiday or birthday, it’s worth checking everything is functioning. Look out your camera chargers, and keep them handy and charge regularly to make sure your camera is always ready to go. Alternatively, if your camera needs batteries, best to stock up so you don’t run out, right at the moment someone is opening up their big present from Santa!  Keep your camera in a handy place, so you can grab it quickly before the moment goes.

2. Opening presents.

From Christmas stockings to Santa’s big present to family gifts, it’s almost a full day event. The excitement on the children’s faces in the morning is so special, but don’t forget the moments the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins open their gifts, these can be special and amusing moments to capture. The expressions on some people’s faces are priceless. Especially when grandpa opens his fifth pair of socks! You could literally spend the whole day photographing present opening so my recommendation is to plan a few key shots, and then put the camera aside and enjoy the moment. The best Chrissy pressie shots are the big presents, when you look back these are the ones you remember (not the hankies or socks).

3. Updating your family photos.

Christmas Day is the perfect opportunity for an up to date family shot. Try to get a photo when everyone arrives, looking fresh and lovely in their Xmas outfits. If you want to take your shot indoors, get everyone to a window or place where you have lots of lovely natural light. If it’s a nice day or there is snow outside you should try and get a shot of everyone outdoors using the lovely natural light, all wrapped up in their hats and scarfs, rosy-cheeked. Try and leave the indoor shots for present opening and Christmas table antics.

4. The Christmas feast.

Try getting a shot before everyone arrives of the table looking beautiful before the feast begins. Don’t forget to photograph the Christmas dinner preparations too! During dinner try something different. Pass the camera around and ask each guest to take their own photos. Makes for some interesting shots (think Brussel sprout close-ups!). Or rather than the usual shots of everyone tucking into dinner or raising a toast try setting up your camera on a tripod in a safe place and have it timed to take shots throughout the meal, saves you missing your scrumptious dinner and you get some very funny and candid shots. 


5. After dinner. 

Try taking more spontaneous and natural shots. Photograph children as they play with their new toys, and family as they relax, (or snooze :-)). 

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Polly  xx


  1. Sandra Aitken

    Been looking for someone to photograph my seven month old grandson and the chap in the gift shop in Kirkie High St mentioned you.
    Enjoyed looking at your website and wondering how much your packages cost?
    Sandra Aitken

    • Pauline Harris

      Hi Sandra,

      So sorry – just seen this message on my website. Best way to conatct me is via my email on info@pollyharrisphotography.com. I assume you managed to get sorted but if you need any more information just drop me a wee email :-).


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