1. Get Your Camera Christmas-ReadyWant to annoy the kids? Make them sit in limbo Christmas morning while you fumble with memory cards and batteries. If you'd prefer Christmas pictures with smiling faces, anticipate events like Christmas morning gift opening by having your camera prepped and ready to shoot.
2. Think Outside the Christmas Present-There are so many amazing Christmas moments that don't happen Christmas morning and don't involve opening presents. What about the night before when the kids place the cookies and milk out for Santa? Or the afternoon your child spends making a homemade gift for the grandparents? Or the fun get together with friends? Have your camera on you during the holidays, and there will probably be many special occasions or even unique and fleeting moments to capture with your camera.
3. Be the Christmas Present-When you are shooting the typical Christmas morning gift opening extravaganza, don't force everyone to hold up a gift and smile. This isn't very genuine.Instead, get on the level of the gift opener (probably the floor for children) and just catch their natural actions: tearing or neatly opening the paper, the priceless look on their face when the gift is revealed, the casual and contemptuous toss of unwanted clothes over the shoulder.
Candid Christmas pictures will probably look more natural, bring more laughs, and better capture the mood than any posed should would.
4. Christmas Portraits-You may still want to pose your subjects, but it doesn't have to be them holding up gifts. Christmas often provides unique opportunities to get group portraits of family and friends who may rarely be gathered together at once.Take advantage by gathering everyone together somewhere with a nice and uncluttered backdrop. A Christmas tree can be a popular background, but even a wall that isn't too busy or a living room couch can work well.
Look at the entire frame to be sure everyone is well represented, as in no heads chopped off. Also be sure there isn't something distracting anywhere in the image. Stagger your subjects, perhaps with some standing and some sitting.
Take several pictures and experiment with the lighting. That way, if a person is blinking or yawning in one (something no so easy to spot on an LCD screen), you'll have a few choices.
I posted a couple of our photos below (get the details...centerpiece, and getting down on kids level during present opening).
Most important, film is cheap. Take a lot of photos and pick your favorites later. As a well known fisherman says: "you can't catch a fish if your fly isn't in the water".