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U is for Unwrapping

Posted by on December 23, 2012

The only thing that children want to do with Christmas is unwrapping their presents. For days they have been looking excitingly at the tree, waiting for presents to appear. Sleeping is out of the question, especially on Christmas Eve. They will wake up really early in the morning on Christmas Day to see what Santa has brought them. Once they see the presents, mayhem commences.

This morning madness offers a great photo opportunity. That excitement when they open their presents cannot be repeated, so is great to capture on film or image. There are a couple of things  you will have to think about when you want to capture this moment.


The colourful lights of the Christmas tree are brilliant to create the right mood for the image. However, due to the dark winter mornings, you will need some additional light to get the best image. Check where you want to put the lights. The big overhead light will overexpose the photo and also will not create a nice atmosphere. Try putting lights behind the sofa or cupboard or on the floor. This will give great indirect light to capture the moment.

Time Lapse / Bust mode

Set your camera on burst mode  or if possible put it on a tripod and set a timer for every minute or so. Let the camera take as many images as you want to. That way you can participate in the unwrapping and at the same time get many images. This will also most likely capture some unexpected moments. If you have the camera in hand, don’t only take images of those that are unwrapping but also of those who gave the gifts. They might be as excited as the receiver!

Avoid Red Eye

Try to avoid having anyone looking straight in the camera. Although most photo editing programs have the option to remove red eyes from the image, it is easier to avoid taking photos with them. If needed, have a second person distracting the children whilst you are taking the photos. Be close to each other but on a slightly different hight so you can avoid the red eye.

Different Perspectives

If you can, lie down on the floor, so you can look up to the children. This will make them look bigger and also gives you a different perspective. Alternatively bend down on your knees so you are at their eye level. Taking pictures from you standing up might not always be the best point of view.

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