This is the number one factor in taking beautiful indoor photos. Find a window and have your family sit with the window directly in front of them or at a 90 degree angle. Turn off all overhead lights and lamps that cast yellow/orange light onto your subjects. Natural light = good light.
For Nikon this will be the A on the top dial. For Canon it’s AV. Check your cameras manual if you have any difficulties or are unsure of where to find it. Then set the ISO to 800 and aperture to 4.0 and you’re all set!
Here is the glorious part! Pop your camera on a tripod and get the angle right so that everyone will be in the frame. Wide angle lenses like the 24 or 35mm are great for this. If you only have kit lenses then set the zoom to 18, 24, or 35 and lock it into place. No tripod? No problem. I’ve used side tables, books, dining chairs, and even trash cans to stabalize my camera. (Yes, it was clean.) Any flat and sturdy surface will do the trick. Play around with different household objects until you get the right height.
Please oh please use your best judgment when it comes to this. If your camera is teetering or right in the path of your toddlers favorite racetrack then don’t leave it there unattended.
Go into your cameras shooting menu and set up the interval timing/shooting. This is going to allow your camera to take a set number of shots at a set interval. I will typically set it to take 2 photos ( incase of blinks) every 30 seconds. You can adjust according to your families specific needs. Every camera model is slightly different so if you are unsure of how to set yours up then google “your camera model interval shooting mode”.
When you are done simply turn off interval shooting mode and voila! You only need 10 minutes of setup to capture those frame worthy and real life Christmas mornings.
Recap for my skimmers (don’t worry, I do it too) Find great window light, use aperture priority mode, use a tripod or other stable surface, and set up an interval self timer. Then sit back, drink your debatably still hot coffee and enjoy knowing all of these Christmas memories will be preserved forever. Way to go, Mom, you’re amazing.