It's lovely to get friends together at Christmas, and for the last few years, my friends and I have set aside a weekend to spend together rollicking around and generally hanging out. We call it Christmas Shindig, and last year was no exception. We spent a wonderful Saturday having brunch, playing Junkyard Crazy golf, wandering the Spitalfields market and indulging in a delicious dinner and cocktails.
Then Liz and Chris kindly offered up their home on the Sunday for a chilled-out day of lovely food and drinks and good company. It was such a pleasure to have time to natter and catch up and laugh together, made even more special by the onset of Christmas.
It also happened to be an excellent time for me haul out the camera and do a photoshoot.
I like to do a photo shoot of my friends every so often, and Shindig is a good time to do it as everyone is together. I took a few pictures while we were out and about on the Saturday, but my pictures were never meant to be about the day, per se, but about getting some up to date pictures of my friends.
So on Sunday afternoon, we all piled onto the sofa, I whipped out my camera and started firing off a few shots. And it's actually quite fun to do, when everyone is feeling the festive spirit and giggles through it. The pictures quickly stop feeling awkward as no one is pressured to pose in a particular way, and everyone is part of a group.
In fact, I really like the concept of the semi-posed, semi-candid shot: everyone is seated on the sofa in the good light where I can get nice pictures. But they aren't stiff and posed and formal. They're clustered into a heap, chatting and laughing. The resulting pictures are clear and have everyone in, but they are so much more full of life.
A few props don't hurt to mess around with either.
It's genuinely worth taking time to get pictures of the people you love. Make it fun, make it an event, but make it worthwhile and strongly encourage (ie demand) compulsory participation. Because I don't think anyone will end up regretting it. And like I said, while Christmas is a natural choice of time meet up, I'm not really aiming to photograph the season, and so when I do a photoshoot isn't hugely important, I just like to get my favourite people together every so often and get a round of portraits; Christmas just happens to be a good excuse.
And remember, don't forget to get a picture of the photographer!
P.S. This post is part of a series I'm writing throughout December in response to Shimelle's scrapbooking class, Journal Your Christmas. By blogging each day, I hope to savour each and every lovely moment of the most wonderful time of the year, and have some great memories to look back on.