A Professional Photographer's Advice on How to Take Memorable Holiday Photos

A Professional Photographer's Advice on How to Take Memorable Holiday Photos

There are moments I can't help but photograph. My 100-year-old grandmother holding both of my children. My toddler's first steps around the lit Christmas tree. The way my husband and daughter sing and dance with the lighting of the menorah. During the ever-famous carving of the perfectly-cooked Thanksgiving turkey. Whether these moments are small and large, one thing for certain is that they are poignant to my family. They are photos I want to be able to show to my kids and grandkids one day.

As a professional photographer, I often struggle to find the balance in my personal time between how much I use my camera when I'm with loved ones, and how much I leave it tucked away. I don't always find it easy, but there is a happy medium -- there's that in-between space of being together just enough and of also finding moments that belong in photographs forever.

The holidays are ultimately a time to be together, with your family or with the family you have made through friendships. Here are tips to take great photos of these memorable times.


I'm embarrassed to tell you that I have run to grab my camera for something exciting only to find that my battery wasn't charged or my memory card was full. You do not want this to happen during a holiday party or on Christmas morning! Have a charged battery and a formatted memory card. Pay special attention to your location, and make sure rooms are as clutter-free as possible, so you can focus more on the people and decorations you want to photograph. Also plan ahead to use a "shutter buddy" or stuffed animal above your camera to get the delighted attention of babies and kids. And I confess that I'm not above using some holiday treats as bribery for the older kids. Lastly, use a simple, neutral background so as not to distract from your subject(s).

All photos by Tamara Bowman

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