The "Done is better than perfect" festive photography shot list

It's about this time of year that Pinterest fills up with ambitious shot lists of must-have moments to capture for the coming season. Unless you are of independent income, with no kids (or have staff), I don't see how you can ever hope to work your way through them and have energy left to enjoy the celebrations.

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These are a few choice ones:

"A tree after a fresh snowfall" - would be nice, but who can predict snow especially in the UK, and even if it does snow, do you live near any trees, and can you schedule in a last minute trip out with your camera anyway? When you get there it is always nearly dark, and you forget the camera turns snow grey.

"Giving out thank you hugs" - what? What?? This has to be one of the most difficult photos to stage even for a professional photographer. You either get all of someone's back and the back of someone's head, or an awkwardly posed embrace. 

"Favourite part of Christmas Eve" - how do you capture "when everyone is finally in bed and I can sit down for 10 minutes"?

"Family photos with visitors" - if I visit you and I have to pose for a photo with your family, it might be the last time I visit.

"Everyone in cracker hats" - fine. Take this shot but don't ever share it with anyone who is not a blood relative.

"Watching a holiday movie" - see hugs above. The TV will be over exposed, and you'll only get the backs of people's heads. Or in our house, you'd have to take 4 separate shots of everyone watching their own movie on their own phone. 

"Children playing with new toys" - do they ever actually play with them on the day, or are they always opening the next one?

"The family in their holiday best" - we have never managed a matching clothes family shot, even with 3 months notice and a professional photographer booked. So the idea we could do it on the darkest day of the year when no one has had enough sleep is optimistic at best. 

I hate the fact that the internet bullies you into thinking you are not doing it right, everyone else is having a perfect time, and if you'd only started planning in September you could have given everyone much, much better memories. Please print out my own guide to festive photography, and remember that it's your house, your rules, your photos, your memories:

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MindsetEmma Davies