With Christmas just 4 sleeps away, we started thinking about family traditions. Big or small, most families have a thing they do every year – maybe it’s baking gingerbread men, making a day out of choosing your tree, new pajamas, or a turkey dinner.
And I get it… it’s a busy time! But it’s always worth taking time out to capture those moments because these are the memories you will want to look back on in years… and generations… to come.
So this week’s highlights reel is a heartwarming collection of grad photos that depict family Christmas traditions, along with a sprinkling of stories to go with them. And we hope they inspire you to carve out some time to get your camera out too, and here’s a fun project to motivate you… create a photo book in the new year which includes your stories!
“Every year, one night in the week before Christmas, we head into the city to see the window displays at David Jones and the big Christmas tree in Martin Place in Sydney. I have photos of my oldest, who is about to turn 18, gazing at these same lights when she was even smaller than my little guy is now. It’s one of my fave family traditions”. ~ Emma Davis
Emma added the light bokeh in the image above with an overlay in Photoshop using the image below which she took on the same outing.
“I didn’t intend to shoot this at ISO 10000, my daughter had taken my camera for a bit and I didn’t realise she’d changed the settings. My little guy was videoing the ‘dancing tree’ lights. The wide aperture helped get the lovely light bokeh on the tree”. ~ Emma Davis
“In our family we celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas, and I worked on getting both traditions in the same image. I love that lights are used in both religions. I posted this with a quote from Aristotle “It is in the darkest moments that we must focus to see the light'”. ~ Jennifer Rudkin Whelan
“My granddaughter Hazel’s first time decorating the Christmas tree’. ~ Vicki Cardilini
Related: Creative Photos Using Twinkle Lights
“My Mum buys the kids Christmas themed arts and crafts sets every year, they are always hilarious and never look like the photo on the pack but we still love sitting together making them”. ~ Claire Roads
Add sparkle after the fact with a subtle Photoshop overlay.
“Every year we put up our Christmas tree and every year I get to put up this ornament that I’ve had for as long as I can remember” ~ Sienna Davis
“Prayers by the Christmas tree”. ~ Pam Gosenheimer
Pam shot this beautiful image through a technique called free lensing, which creates an intentionally blurred, tilt shift perspective. Free lensing also provides a very shallow depth of field which resulted in stunning bokeh on the Christmas tree.
To free lens, detach your lens then hold it loosely inside the housing, and tilt it ever so slightly. For a more detailed tutorial check this out…
Related: Free lensing for beginners
“When the kids were really little my mum bought them this traditional wooden advent calendar with the little drawers that you can put your own treats in. Every Christmas we get it out and it has two sweets (one each) in each drawer. This wooden advent calendar has become a family tradition and the kids love it”. ~ Louise Harmston
To recreate a shot like this with beautiful bokeh in the background, check out our fairy lights bokeh tutorial.
“Baking gingerbread men for the kids at school, and gingerbread for Santa”. ~ Kerri Tom, Advanced Graduate
Whilst we think Kerri’s gingerbread mean are perfection… you don’t need to be a great cook to take great food photos, not to mention have fun with it as a genre! We’ve got some fantastic tutorials on food photography, check them out and try something new these holidays.
“I bought the first elf for my granddaughter when she was two and the second after my grandson was born. Each year the elves come back to watch over the children and cause a little mischief during the month of December and I’m blessed enough to be a part of the fun. Coco and Sparkle had a party in my granddaughters room while she was at school”. ~ Janet Widner
“Every year we bake gingerbread and the boys decorate it. The children had decorated the tree and ‘Pig the Pug’ always goes on top. Our house is very dark, even in summer so I am embracing the grain that comes with increasing my ISO”. ~ Sarah Jane
“We take a small tree down to the beach for the kids to play and for me to take pictures of them.” ~ Jaden Giorgianni
“My mom and I would make Christmas cookies every single year together. After she passed away, I knew I had to keep going with my daughter and she LOVES this tradition the most “. ~ Rachel Lawler
“I started my snow village collection when my own kids were young, now it’s a favorite of my two middle grands”. ~ Charlotte Bryant Madison
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