Step One: Create an environment that you feel proud to photograph!
I want to tell you that I feel very strongly that we each deserve to live in an environment that we feel proud to photograph. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I hear people who talk about their living spaces with such unhappiness and disappointment. So I am telling you: if that is you, if you are unhappy with your living space, do something about it. Save up and replace your carpet if it makes you sad. Paint your walls if they make you not want to photograph your room. Set a goal to replace your sofas if you absolutely hate them. Maybe you can’t do all you want this year, but set goals and work towards the kind of living space you feel proud to photograph, ok?
That being said, sometimes just rearranging the furniture is all you need to do to get better photos. I absolutely did that last year and was so happy I did! We moved the sofa and chair so that we could all sit comfortable in a circle and we could all see the Christmas tree. This also made it easier for me to (unobtrusively) capture photos as each person opened presents. Before we decorated the Christmas tree we made the decision to put the tree where it could be seen and so that the furniture could be a conversation circle around it. If it means you rearrange on Christmas Eve, then do that. I moved our chair so that we could all see the tree, and it placed nicely in front of the TV cabinet (closed doors!) for someone to sit.
Which brings me to another great point: Closely edit the things that are in your living room for Christmas morning. Even if you have littles and all their toys, on Christmas Eve tell them their toys will be put in another room and they will be so excited about the new toys they are getting! If you have your TV in a cabinet, close the doors. That TV with its big black screen just sucks all the light out of Christmas photos, doesn’t it?! So close those doors. No one needs to watch TV right now anyway!
Along with creating a room you love, also be sure to deep clean. Don’t get me wrong – you don’t have to deep clean the night before Christmas! Do a good thorough clean at the end of October or beginning of November (like, right now!). Steam your carpets, send your drapes to the cleaners, move all the furniture and vacuum underneath so your room looks refreshed. I also love, when the Christmas ornaments come out, to take everything off the surfaces and refresh the accessories. Right? Then the week or so before Christmas do another quick vacuum, dust everything, and you are ready.
I invite you into my own living room, where I share some of my ideas for helping create a good environment in your living room!