Tiny Tip: Make a Christmas Shot List

If you’re feeling behind for Christmas, please allow me to make you feel better!  The only thing I’ve done is play Christmas music on pandora 🙂

I opted out of putting up a tree this year. I figured putting the ornaments back on the tree several times a day and stressing out about some of my nice fragile items potential short life, would be more stress than it was worth.  I had stockings hung by the chimney with care. They lasted a few hours. They’re now burried under my bed away from the little monster who is putting Christmas decor on hold for 2011.

Hopefully, my sister has more Christmas spirit than I do (we’re spending part of the holiday with her family).  Lindsey has always been more celebratory than I have, so I’m sure my “shot list” can be used at her house better than my own!

For anyone wanting to make their Christmas photo’s more photojournalistic, here’s a little peak at my usual Christmas shot list.  It works great for spreads for album design and tells a story differently than the typical shots do.

Christmas Shot List:

-Tree with lights at night, all presents wrapped and waiting for Christmas morning


-wrapping paper details, bows

-gift tags

-baked goods

-holiday cards from friends/family

-individual ornaments on the tree


-other special Christmas decor

-Group shot Christmas morning before opening presents

-true candid shots of fun expressions opening gifts

-torn up wrapping paper

-opened gifts

-Holiday dinner/or breakfast (before eating!)

-An outdoor landscape shot of what the day looked like

-Any particular special traditions–i.e. acting out the nativity, caroling, crafts, secret santa, etc.

-Photo traditions (we always had to sit on the stairs and have our picture taken before we could go to the tree).  Its fun to later put those images side by side through the years to notice some fun growth and change that occurs through life.

-natural portraits/candids of each family member INCLUDING ME!

And then I’d turn the camera off and just live in the present moment and soak up all the love.  Sometimes its good to let yourself document how you feel and not just what you see.

Anything you would add to the list?

Christmas circa 1997.  The traditional “Christmas morning stairs” shot wearing our new pjs.

p.s.  I looked through about 18 years worth of pictures and only found a handful of Christmas shots–and the years were hit and miss. Don’t under-estimate the value of a shot list 🙂

p.p.s.  please be my friend still even though I had horrific bangs, and personally picked out the matronly flannel nightgown.


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Brooke Snow

Brooke Snow


As a photographer, she’s been published in Where Women Create and Where Women Cook magazines, featured on the Huffington Post, The $100 Startup, and is a regular contributor to her local NBC lifestyle show Studio 5. A sought after instructor and speaker, when she’s not putting the magic into her next presentation, you can find her drooling over organic recipes, hiking with a mountain buggy carrying precious cargo, and hanging out in her Farm House with her fabulous little clan in Northern Utah.

Her free course Living a Thriving Life is the perfect anecdote for those seeking balance in the midst of chaos. Discover how to create meaning in both your photos and your life at brookesnow.com.
Brooke Snow

Latest posts by Brooke Snow (see all)

  • Hollie - Your sibling picture is precious! And I SO had bangs like that in ’97, too!!

    Thanks for the list . . . I will be checking it twice.

    {P.S. Thank you for the self-study course . . . Things are finally clicking -literally!- for me. I want to shout from the rooftop “I am shooting in manual!” You are awesome!}

  • Jen - You’re a wise mama to avoid the “Don’t-touch-that!” battle. When I had two-year olds, we just did light trees–all lights and no ornaments. 🙂

  • admin - Ooh Jen. Good thinking. Maybe I will pull the tree out and just do lights 🙂

  • admin - Hooray Hollie! So happy that you are loving manual! I want to shout from the rooftop too!!!!!

  • Katie - Something I picked up from my mother-in-law that she did for my husband and his little brother when they were tiny tots: she bought stuffed ornaments and hung them on toddler level, putting the Real Ornaments up near the top of the tree out of their reach. I did the same with our kids, and it really does work!

    And yes, I’m still your friend, bangs and all. I think I had bangs like that, too (after the whole Farrah Fawcett wings phase and then the Perm Ordeal of ’88!) ; ) Marry Christmas!

  • Rachelle - Thank you for the shot list! What a great idea. Maybe it will prevent the post-Christmas-we-forgot-to-snap-a-picture-of-“x”- blues.:O)

  • admin - So glad we’re still friends, Katie 🙂 And that is a great idea re: the ornaments 🙂 Perhaps I’ll dig out some christmas spirit after all. I do have plush ornaments… hmmmm

  • Lindsey - No one is looking at your bangs or your flannels. They are all laughing at my “I just woke up and didn’t do my hair” face. Good thing you’ve taken pictures of me that look better than this or I would get a complex. 🙂
    I’m excited your coming to our house for Christmas. We have a baby boy proof tree, and if it isn’t I will seriously suspend it from the ceiling.

  • the present of being present - […] In my free e-course It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas, Lesson #1 challenges you to “Make a List, Check it Twice”.  The concept of creating shot list or a plan for what you intend to capture before you even capture it is one so simple I wish I had thought of it myself! And the holidays is the PERFECT time to practice making your shot list.  If you’re looking for some inspiration, my lovely friend and mentor Brooke Snow recently gave a glimpse at her own holiday list. […]

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