December Daily 2017 | Christmas Morning Photos: How Do You Do It?

Hi guys!! Welcome to my 2017 December Series, where I share everything that I am doing related to the December Daily project. December Daily is an album concept designed and marketed by Ali Edwards, where we create an album throughout the month of December using one story per day. You can learn more about the project and connect with Ali + a community of like-minded scrapbookers via the link here: Ali Edwards Blog.

Did you ever look at other people’s photos and wonder just how they did that? Did you ever wonder what your own photography style is, and if you have your own style how do you “discover” it? Yeah, me too! I remember getting my first DSLR and absolutely obsessing over what every setting did, trying to figure it all out at once!

I found a whole ton of information online about all the technical settings, what ISO stands for, how to set your aperture, all sorts of things that didn’t really make sense to me. I finally put all that aside and just started playing. Digital is awesome that way – you can take 1,000 photos of the same thing and then delete them all! 

So today I want you to grab your DSLR and play. Play with your ISO today. Get to know what your camera and your lens does with ISO. Next week, play with Aperture. Get to know what your camera and your lens does with Aperture. As you are playing with those settings, make mental notes about which settings you gravitate towards! 

Larkindesign | Christmas Morning Photos! A new photography mini-class for you!!!

Last year after I had finished my 2016 December Daily, I got a lot of questions about how I had gotten my photos to look the way they looked. I know that people think achieving beautiful photos that reflect your personality is as easy as clicking a button, or putting the camera on a certain setting, but it really is more nuanced than that! 

I tell people in my videos and my blog all the time to create using the products that make them happy and excited, and I find that camera settings are a lot the same way. You might go into the same environment as me, with the exact same equipment as me, and use totally different settings and get an entirely different photos than me! That is the beautiful thing about art and creativity – you get to decide what you like and go with that.

I sat down a few weeks ago to write this blog post, and realized I had a whole lot more to say about it than just one simple post! I am so excited to offer you a self-paced Mini Course called Christmas Morning Photography: How to develop your own photographic style and nail those Christmas morning photographs!


Larkindesign | Christmas Morning Photos%3A A New Mini Class!!!

In this class we are going to chat about three major steps in achieving the photographs you want on Christmas morning (or any event that the photos are really important to you!):

Step One: Create an environment that you feel proud to photograph!

For me, creating great photographs happens before the event ever begins. It begins with a great environment! We often think that we should leave our homes and find beautiful backdrops, or go to a design studio, or take dramatic hikes to get the best shot. But I think our best photos happen in our own living room! So that takes a little planning, a little effort, some cleaning (yep, a little vacuum and dusting!), and a whole lot of editing. 

On Christmas morning we want the focus of our photos to be on people, the tree, and the gifts. Everything else that is in the room is just noise. So edit your room carefully before the big day. Take out unnecessary things so that your backdrop is just that – a backdrop instead of noise.

Step Two: Do a practice run (or two or three) prior to Christmas morning!

This is where you get to practice and play with all those settings on your camera. In this lesson in the class, I will walk you through my process in my own living room to get the lighting on my camera just right! This is something you can do today, even, just set up your camera at about the same time as you plan to open gifts and experiment. Take 100 photos of your living room, take 500 if you wish. Make notes about what settings you like. How bright do you like your photos? How dark or intimate do you like them? You get to decide what look you are going for.

Step Three: Learn how to edit your photos in post-processing to get the best prints possible!

I cannot lie, I am a fan of Photoshop and its capabilities! I love opening up a less than perfect photo, working just a few tiny adjustments, and then making it beautiful. Photoshop again is a creative tool that allows you to decide what your favorite corrections are and how much you want to use those corrections. I have just a few quick go-to tools that I use on almost every photo: brighten in the Curves and Crop. 

Learning tools in Photoshop can be overwhelming, and I have lots of tutorials that you can access on my Sidebar to the right of your screen. In this class you will be able to follow me on my desktop as I take photos from my living room today and edit them for print, and I also take photos from Christmas last year and edit them so you can see my process. 

Again, the post-processing is another step in creating your own style – and the best way to develop that is to practice and make notes of your favorite tools and settings. I love sharing my process with you and you are welcome to copy any of my methods! Experiment and play. See what all Photoshop can do. Decide what you love and use that to develop your own style.

Larkindesign | Christmas Morning Photographs%3A A New Mini Class!!!!

Style is this crazy-awesome thing – we all have it and we all have it in very unique ways! Your photographs have the power to reflect your personality and your family’s personality, whatever that is. In the meantime, try out my photo personality in this class. See the techniques and philosophy behind my own photography and be inspired. See you in the classroom!