December 19th, 2013

The Right Way to Take Pictures at the Christmas Table

By Angela Ford, Photo Blogger

You have your Christmas plate full, you take the first bite, and there is a camera in your face: “Smile!” Everyone looks around panicked, cheeks stuffed, trying to contort their faces into a smile without showing a mouthful of half-chewed turkey.

If you are the person holding the camera, no! Stop! Do not do this, and here’s why:

  • People do not look good while they are eating. Google ‘supermodels eating’ and see for yourself. If they look horrible, so will Aunt Edna.
  • People are ravenous, they have smelled that gorgeous bird cooking for hours, finally the toasts are over, and… then you want to take a picture? This is not a recipe for relaxed and happy subjects.
  • Food only looks good if it hasn’t been touched. Take a look at your half-finished plate and ask yourself, if I took a picture of this right now, could I fool my friends into thinking this is my dog’s plate? Yes, the answer is always yes. Not a pretty backdrop for a photo.

But, you say, sharing a holiday meal captures the spirit of the holidays! Here I completely agree, but there are ways to take awesome photos of the family enjoying the meal without actually photographing the family enjoying the meal.

Take your posed pictures early in the day

I think people are tempted to take pictures at the table because finally, everyone is in one place. Instead, set aside a half hour earlier in the day (natural light!) to take a proper portrait, so you will not feel the compulsion of photographing people at their most gluttonous.


Don’t these people look happy? Just a few minutes early in the day will save you the panic of getting the dreaded family table shot.

Photograph the prep

As an avid cook, my favourite meal of the year is Christmas dinner. It takes me several days, and like many other cooks, the bustle of the kitchen before the meal represents a gift I am giving to my family.

Take pictures of the gravy-making, the turkey carving, the chatter of everyone packed into the kitchen—this is the essence of Christmas.

Although their kitchen is much more orderly than mine, this action shot captures the camaraderie of preparing the Christmas meal.

Although their kitchen is much more orderly than mine, this action shot captures the camaraderie of preparing the Christmas meal.

Shoot the final product

Whether you serve your meal at the table or buffet style, there is a perfect moment when the meal is finished, it looks beautiful and appetizing, and no one has taken a serving. Take a picture of this, perhaps with the cooks, to preserve this small, beautiful moment.


Capture the cook’s handiwork by taking a picture before everyone digs in.

Take your table picture before everyone starts

You REALLY want to take a table picture, I can tell. Here are the rules. Announce to your guests that you want to take a photo of the toast. Before you serve the meal, pour the wine glasses, and have everyone sit down around the beautiful table. I like to set up a tripod, so everyone is in the photo, and set my camera timer (practice this before, so you won’t waste valuable eating time).

Now everyone is smiling with a drink, raising it up (which stretches the neck and torso and looks more flattering), and you have your table photo.


All right, you’ve got your table picture! Now put it away, fill your tummy, enjoy the company, and wait for the plates to be cleared before you get your camera out again.

Print it up!

Taking beautiful Christmas pictures (that don’t capture people eating) is something to share! When you order your prints, you can tell the London Drugs counter to ‘Book it’ when you pick them up. The lab technicians can make you an instant photobook to share with your friends and family.

October 7th, 2013

The Family Christmas Photo: Simplify the ridiculous

By Angela Ford, photo blogger

Taking a family Christmas photo is a ridiculous process, at least in the Ford household. We have four children, including a teenager and twin preschoolers, and getting them all clean, happy, and looking in the right direction is an exercise in the absurd.

To help guide you through the chaos, I have assembled a few ideas so you can plan ahead and end up with a photo you want to share with everyone you know.

Plan your outfits

Wardrobe is a headache, plain and simple. On any given day, no one in my family coordinates with the others. Half the children have food, paint, or unidentified substances on their shirts, the other half don’t match, and my hair is standing on end.

The simple go-to idea is to find matching outfits for everyone. By matching outfits, I would dissuade you from choosing from the genre of Rudolph sweaters with blinking noses. Complicated patterns will detract from the faces, and set up your children for much embarrassment later in life.

Stay simple

Family-Image-1-OrnamentsA simple, classic look is the white T and jeans combination. This is an affordable way to get matching outfits, and it gives a nice uniform look that accentuates the faces.

Image 1: Simple white T shirts and jeans give a uniform look to the image, while festive gold ornaments capture the spirit of the holiday.

November 16th, 2012

The Manic Mother’s Guide to Quick, Awesome Christmas Cards

It’s the end of November and here’s a shock: I haven’t even started my Christmas cards. In September I had such a lofty goals—this year I’ll be organized, this year I’ll beat the crowds and get everything done early, this year I’ll spend December drinking eggnog by the fireplace.

Or maybe not.


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