You know those times when your past memories pop up on your phone? The ones you had forgotten about until that random photograph showed up? I don’t know about you, but I am instantly thankful for that photo because it offered me a clear memory of days past. The ones I sometimes long for… chubby babies who are now rambunctious children, their warm little bodies snuggled against mine, now barely fitting in my lap. Photographs offer us tangible reminders of what was, and they encourage us to continue to document the present moments before they become distant memories.

I remember the first Christmas after Daphne, our oldest, was born, She was 7 months old, the chubbiest little thing. She had sparkling blue eyes and rosy cheeks and I wanted to just eat her up. I held her all day long (when I learned how to very kindly but firmly let people know that yes, I was going to hold her all day and nurse her whenever she wanted, and no I wasn’t worries about her getting “spoiled,”) but I digress… my point being, I can still picture her that first Christmas morning. I can see the smile she made as she pointed to the tree as we came downstairs. I can even hear the little noise she made in excitement. I can feel her weight on my hip and her wispy baby hair in my fingertips. I can remember how she cautiously tore the paper on her first gift, and I can remember this all so clearly, even 10 years later, because I have a stack of photographs that reminds me.

I don’t just encourage others to take photos because I want the business… I do it because I believe in the vast importance of having them. I believe that they carry legacies, and truths, and mother’s hearts within their four corners. I believe in the power of photographing our present days before they are the past… before we miss the opportunity, and before we regret having given up that moment to the fleeting visions in our foggy minds.

So I wanted to offer you some practical skills for documenting your days, your holiday season, right now, starting today. Even if you just have your smart phone, I want you to know you can create beautiful photos, you can print them in a book, and you can keep them close for all the years to come. I’m going to share my tips and tricks for taking quality photos this Christmas and beyond, as well as how to edit them on your phone, and an easy way to print them into tangible keepsakes. I’m even sharing two FREE mobile presets with you below!

  • Tips for taking great smart phone photos of your family this holiday season:
  • 1. Make sure your phone camera lens is clean – this simple trick of a quick swipe on your shirt to make sure you have a really clean clear lens, will do wonders for your photos!
  • 2. Lighting is key – if shooting indoors, strive for a naturally well lit space: something near a window or open door where the sunlight can stream in, and skip turning on any artificial lights as this will cause shadows and untrue colors. If shooting outdoors, open shade and soft morning or evening light are really nice for photos.
  • 3. composition – compose a photo that really tells the story of what’s happening right then… for example, if taking photos while you bake and decorate Christmas cookies, tell the story. Start with photos of the ingredients, the kid’s feet as they dangle off the counter top while they look into the mixing bowl. Their little hands holding the wooden spoon and tasting frosting. Then some wider shots that get all the elements in… the kids cutting out shapes with cookie cutters, overhead shots of them decorating the cookies as well as straight on shots of their smiling faces next to their masterpieces. Even in just 10 images, changing up your perspective and focus will tell the story of that moment and save it as a tangible memory to be relived and savored for years to come.
  • 4. editing – running your image through lightroom mobile (a free app for your smart phone), will make it pop a little more. I am offering TWO FREE MOBILE PRESETS that you can download below to make this process easy peasy. Once you download those on your phone, unzip the files, and add them to your lightroom mobile under “presets” and then all you will need to do is apply either the color or black and white preset to your images.
  • 5. printing – here’s the kicker… taking these photos only to have them live on your phone forever isn’t ideal, because as we know, technology has it’s short comings. I recommend printing all of your holiday photos from this year in a little book through Chatbooks. A 60 page book is only $10 and will guarentee you have these images to hold dear forever. We have been making Chatbooks for 10 years now and the kids still look through them often. You can place all of your holiday images in a folder on your phone, and then connect that folder to Chatbooks. This will upload all the images and you will have a book in about 5 minutes with minimal effort. If you wish to write notes in the pages, I suggest printing the book and then handwriting in the pages since there is plenty of white space.
  • I hope these tips were helpful!