All parents want to make the most of the holidays.  We plan crafts, bring our kids all over town to events and take a million photos on our phones.  Today we're thrilled to have Gina Sandrzyk, owner of Gina Cristine Photography guest posting on how to storytell your holiday in photographs.  Take it away, Gina!

We all love the candid and documentary style images we see on Pinterest and Instagram from professional photographers.  But did you know YOU can also document your family's holidays in a storytelling manner with just a few easy tips?  Cookie baking, gift wrapping, hot cocoa drinking, holiday tree decorating, crafts, and gingerbread house decorating, are all fun things to do as a family while you tell the story of your holidays with your camera.  You and your family will love looking back at the images and remembering the details of your holidays for years to come. Grab your DSLR, point and shoot, or even cell phone (yes, I said cell phone) and follow along below!

But did you know YOU can also document your family’s holidays in a storytelling manner with just a few easy tips?


1.  Use natural light if possible. Natural light is the most flattering and easy light to photograph. When photographing your family, if possible set up the activity near natural light. Have your back to the light source while your family faces you and the light. You will not have to worry about funky skin tones, and your subjects will have a little added sparkle in their eyes!


2.  Clear the clutter in the background. Take a few minutes before you get started and look at the space you will  be using through the lens of your camera. Do you notice anything distracting in the background? Something as far away or small  as your daughter’s pink lunch bag on the counter may not seem distracting at first. But as you start shooting, the pink bag may draw your eye from your family over to the bag. What makes many professional documentary style photos more interesting, is how simple and non distracting the background is.


3. It’s all about the details! Photograph the gingerbread houses and bowls of candy before you get started. Then photograph faces of excitement and concentration as your children begin. Move your body to be on the same level as the table, and photograph little hands putting candy on the houses. Get close and photograph just those little hands holding a handful of candy. Think of those little details that will not be the same next year. You will love looking back and remembering how tiny their hands were compared to a handful of gumdrops.



4. Let kids be themselves (they will eventually forget the camera is there!) Do not worry about the mess, or how the end result may not look like the way it is supposed to. How adorable will it be to look back at the gingerbread house they made all by themselves when they were 5! Imagine how proud they will be! Your kids will eventually be making the perfect gingerbread houses when they are older. While they are young, worry about the clean up after, let them put the snowman wherever they want, and just enjoy their laughter, happy faces, and creativity. Your photos will be more authentic and natural, and that is what storytelling is all about.



5.Get your memories off your computer and phone! This is the best part. What about making a beautiful soft cover album of your images to keep out on the coffee table through the holiday season, and to bring out next year to enjoy? I adore Artifact Uprising's soft cover books to make for each of our fun activities throughout the year. You can add wording to describe the way you felt, quotes of things your children said, or just let the images tell the story.

If an album is not your thing, print your favorites and display them in order. Do not forget to print the details! For prints I love Mpix.Com and for square prints I love Artifact Uprising

Looking for more photo display ideas, Artifact Uprising’s blog is always inspiring. do not need a professional camera to take beautiful photographs. The beauty in the photography comes from emotion you are capturing...

Remember, you do not need a professional camera to take beautiful photographs. The beauty in a photograph comes from the emotion you are capturing, and the memories you will have from the images for years to come. Think of your children’s children looking back at the photo book or images of your family laughing and enjoying the small details of cookie baking or ice skating for the first time. Keep things authentic and true to the moment, and your family and you will be filled with joy with the results. 

Thanks to Carrie from Little Punky for letting me share her family’s images.  Any questions about photography? Feel free to email me Gina@GinaCristinePhotography.Com

Cheers and Happy Shooting!

Gina Sandrzyk, Gina Cristine Photography