How to Take Beautiful Christmas Morning Pictures

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I am Neyssa Lee a Seattle area photographer, mom of 6, planning obsessed, and who help you see the beauty, love and joy, in your own family’s chaos. I also use my super power of time management to help fellow photographers take control of their businesses. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

Christmas morning is full of magic and wonder. However, it can also feel a bit full of chaos and clutter. Is it even possible to take beautiful Christmas morning pictures? Of course.

As magical as the holiday is, trying to photograph it can feel overwhelming. With these simple tips, you can capture beautiful Christmas morning pictures of those moments that matter most.

Boy looking out the window with cat on Christmas Morning

The first Christmas morning picture to take is your kids taking in the presents and the tree.

In our home we wait for everyone to be awake and ready before we start opening gifts. This gives me time to capture the kids as they first come down the stairs and see the tree, or as the first one awake and look at the presents under the tree. These are some of my favorite Christmas morning photos as it captures the anticipation and excitement most.

One year we even had a white Christmas, so I was able to capture my son taking in the snow outside with the Christmas tree lit up beside him.

Next, plan ahead and only photograph certain presents being opened.

Again, the goal is not to have a flip book of pictures from Christmas morning. And let’s be real, what is important is not remembering the actual gifts received. Photograph those gifts that you know will bring the biggest reactions.

For example, we always get one outfit for each child (a “need” gift). While they he may appreciate it, his face isn’t going to be quite the same as when he opens the one lego set he’s been asking for for months.

Another tip is to photograph the details.

This one can seem tough amongst the chaos that present opening might bring. However, slow down and look for those details that make up the story of this particular Christmas. Things like, the way their little fingers pull open the wrapping paper, or the way they started playing with something right away, or maybe the way they circled around each other to see what their brother got.

In a few years time, these detail Christmas morning pictures will bring you right back to that time and those special stages the kids were at that year.

An important tip for Christmas morning pictures is to hand off the camera to your spouse.

You were there too, so make sure you’re in the pictures. I will set the camera settings and hand off my camera to my husband to take a few pictures of me. My husband has captured Christmas morning pictures of the kids opening gifts with me in the background and me opening gifts with them helping me, too!

In turn, don’t forget to capture your husband. The focus can be so much on the kids that we forget that mom and dad are important too. (Plus when you look back in five years you’ll think, “wow, look how young I was!” Ha!) I will ensure I grab some of the kids snuggled in my husband’s lap opening gifts and a few of him opening the gift I’m most excited for him to open – again using the tip above, capturing those things that will bring the most reaction.

Set the camera aside and enjoy the rest of your Christmas morning.

Now that you’ve captured a few of those important, story-telling Christmas morning photos, you can set the camera aside and just enjoy the morning with your family. Keep it nearby, you can always pick it back up, but rest easy knowing you’ve captured some beautiful moments that tell the story of your holiday.

Now it’s your turn. Go capture your Christmas morning (or evening, whenever you open gifts together as a family) beautifully. Using these tips I hope you can document your holiday without having 3,000 Christmas morning pictures. I also hope the pressure to capture every moment is lessened.

If you found these tips helpful, please leave a comment and let me know. When you use one of my tips, share it on Instagram and tag me. I’d love to see and celebrate with you.

Be sure to check out more of my holiday inspiration, from photo tips to being more intentional this Christmas season.