candy canes, holiday mini session livonia michigan

Must Take Holiday Photos | Northville, MI Photographer

Hey everyone, hello and happy Sunday!  Gosh this really is a great time of year for magical photos and capturing memories to keep forever.  There are so many traditions surrounding Christmas time and the holidays and photographing it all is part of the fun, at least for me!  This year I wanted to stretch myself creatively and came up with a shot list of all the things I wanted to shoot to celebrate this year.  Time is flying by with my girls and I know that I have only maybe one year of Santa magic and already I’m seeing fewer and fewer toys under the tree and more craft supplies and headphones and nice shoes.  It’s a big difference.  But, instead of being sad about it, I’m taking advantage of every moment and every tradition.  So, here’s my “must take Christmas photo list” and I hope that it inspires you to come up with something for your own family!

Pets, of course, top the list of things to photograph this holiday season.  We were lucky enough to have “Santa Doug” visit our home.  His portrayal of Santa impressed all of us.  He was friendly and kind and we finally got our longed-for picture of our bearded dragon with Santa.  My youngest declared that he was the “real Santa” and the mall Santa was just one of Santa’s helpers.

My favorite photos are all the ones I take by the tree.  I love the process of see-it-from-space lighting and thinking through how make it sparkle as much as possible.  These are the pictures I will treasure for years to come.

And of course you should include – traditions, special locations, life at home, and SNOW if you are lucky enough to have it.  This year it looks like we will have a 60 degree Christmas!

Browse through my photos, duplicate something inspiring or put your own spin on it.  I hope that the variety here shows you that it doesn’t matter how you celebrate or photograph the holidays – dark and moody, bright and cheerful, inside, outside, red & white, red & green, silver & white, tree light, flashlight, natural light, studio light – just DO IT!

Read my full list at the bottom.  I’ve included a blank version for you to make your own “photo wish list!”

Finally, you don’t need to try to cram all these in before Christmas!  I’m planning on taking all my snowy pictures throughout January.  You can always take them and share them next time this year or save them for your family photo album.  Most importantly, don’t stress about your getting list finished!  We’re six days ’til Christmas and I’ve taken 3 shots from my list!!  It’s supposed to be fun and NOT stressful!


Be as detailed or as general as you’d like.  One of my just says “candy canes” and the photos evolved on their own.  Others involve elaborate creative sets and designs and projects with building.

To add drama, think carefully about your color story, what everyone’s wearing, and especially footwear.

Try it once and then try it again.  If it doesn’t come out like you want, retry it!  I’ve shot a couple close ups three times now and they still don’t look 100% like I want.  It’s okay to experiment.

Use cell phone light, flashlights, headlights, Christmas lights, and fairy lights to add magic and wonder and play around with all the lighting options you can get.

I would LOVE to hear from you!  What are you photographing this season?  What should be on my list, but isn’t?  What is your MUST TAKE holiday photo?  Message me using the button below!

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