Do you struggle to get your kids to sit on Santa’s lap? Maybe you’re just happy they aren’t crying in the picture? After waiting in line for what seems like hours, you get to the front of the line only to discover your child is scared of Santa. But you’ve waited so long that you refuse to leave without a picture, so you settle for whatever you can get. Here are some tips from our resident photographer, Dr. Silverman, for taking the best photos with Santa plus a few tips for the DIY photographer.

At the Mall

If you plan on taking your kids to one of our New Jersey-area malls or some other local NJ event where they will have an opportunity to get a picture with Santa, you’ll want to make sure you prepare your kids for what to expect. Here are a few things you can do to best prepare your kids for the big Santa experience.   

  • Start Early – Start reading books about Santa well in advance of Christmas so your kids get to learn what the man in the red suit is all about before they meet him for the first (or even fourth) time. Reading books and singing songs about Christmas will get your kids excited about Christmas and help them learn they have nothing to fear.
  • Dress Them Comfortably – Let your kids choose their own outfit for the Santa photo. This will ensure they’re comfortable and make them feel more involved in the whole process.
  • Visit the Mall Ahead of Time – If possible, try and go to the venue where Santa is ahead of time so your kids can see other kids having their photo taken and see that it’s a fun time. Of course, this can backfire if they’re watching other children who are not enjoying the process. If this happens, if your kids are old enough, ask them why they think the other children are upset. This way, if they have their own fears about Santa, you can discuss them ahead of time. For younger children, bring a book to distract them.

At Home

If you prefer a DIY Santa photograph and you’re lucky enough to have a venue that allows this or maybe a relative or neighbor that likes to dress up like jolly old St. Nick, here are few things to keep in mind.

  • Lights – Make sure the area where you will be taking the photo has as much natural light as possible. The best way to use natural light to your advantage is to go outside. If this isn’t possible, take the photo when natural lighting is at its peak in your home. Make sure you turn off all the lights in the house so all you are working with is what’s coming in the window. It’s best not to face the window when taking the picture. You’ll want to have your back to the window with your subject sitting in front of the window
  • Camera – Study your camera settings so you know the best ones to use for your Santa photo. Try and experiment with your camera ahead of time. Try and mimic the same lighting conditions and background so that all you’re changing are the settings on your camera so you can determine which ones give you the best results.
  • Action – Well, action is actually what you don’t want when you’re taking pictures. You want the camera to be steady to avoid any blur caused by depressing the shutter release. If you don’t have a tripod to steady the camera, make sure you are supporting it in such a way that it won’t move when you take the photo. Resting your elbows on a steady surface or holding them tight against your body works in a pinch.

Have fun with your Santa photos this year, whether you are taking them yourself or having someone else take them. EyeCare 20/20 wishes you and your family the best of the holiday season this year.

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