We’re in the thick of the holiday season where typically large groups gather round to celebrate, and I suppose I’m feeling a bit nostalgic thinking back on all the years my family spent Christmas Eve with multi-generations of family and friends, something that is mostly unthinkable this year.
I’m so happy that at those last few gatherings, I was able capture some of the beautiful memories I came across with my camera. It’s reminding me that it’s the people in our lives, those moments that we capture, that are most important. The act of grabbing our cameras will hold meaning in the years to come, especially as time marches on and our family structure changes.
Since much of my family lives abroad, we’re used to virtual gatherings. Phone calls, FaceTime, whatsapp and skype changed the way we celebrated, while our in-person holidays remain intimate.
When I look back on the last few years, I’ve taken fewer and fewer photos with my camera, and more snapshots with my iphone. Because of this, I’ve purposely left my DSLR sitting out, and I’m so glad that I did! Finding the laughter and the cheers in my archives is such a joy.
In between the candid moments, I have also had a mostly consistent practice of capturing my family with a timered group shot – this way I can be in the photo too. It can be tricky to get everyone on board, but I promise you it’s well worth the fun when you see the results.
I often have to improvise my “tripod” for the timered shots, so I frequently have coffee tables in the shot and strange angles, but that’s all part of the fun. We often take several shots, to get a good one. The first one below is actually a composite of three shots so we could get all three dogs in the picture!
This year we had fun with props! Of course we had a traditional take too.
Back in the Flick days, the “non-pose pose” was a thing and we had fun with those group photos too!
And sometimes no matter how hard you try, the results might not be what you’d expect, but that’s half the fun!
Looking back through my archives, I regret the years that we didn’t set the timer and gather for a photo, and I wish that we’d made the effort those years too.
I also try to record quiet moments throughout the day that grab my eye as I see them. Beautiful light, our furry friends, sneaking a chocolate or two.
Lastly, try to find some fun ways to include yourself in the photo outside the group shots! I often grab “selfies” in mirrors, alway fun to come across when you’re looking back on those memories.
I know this year will be different for so many of us, and I think because we can’t be together, it’s even more important to make the effort to connect to one another through our photography. Capture the candids, take snapshots with our phone cameras and above all, try to find creative ways to photograph group shots during these strange times.
Here are a couple of ideas to make that happen:
- Have each family group take a group photo and send it to you; you take your photo with plenty of space surrounding your group to composite their shots next to yours
- Everyone wear a mask (but make sure to keep your distance!)
- Take your photos outdoors with a wide angle and plenty of distance between your various “bubbles”
- Have everyone take a selfie and line them all up into equal rows, don’t forget your pets too!
- Take a screenshot of a group “zoom” chat