Child playing with his toyby Kylee Ann Maughan, owner and photographer, Kylee Ann Photography 

Winter is here! We can kiss those long bright days, warm nights and that beautiful golden hour light goodbye. So many people wait until spring and summer to take those great outdoor photos of their kids, pets, friends and families.

As each four-degree day passes, our children aren’t getting any younger. In fact, my babies are growing like weeds; it would be a shame to miss capturing all of these special moments. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the memories and traditions don’t wait for the best lighting conditions or warmest weather. Here are a few tips to help you take better indoor photos this holiday season.

Lighting: The key to taking the best indoor photos is light. The great thing about light is that it is not dependent on what camera you are using. You can use a point-and-shoot, DSLR or iPhone and get better photos by simply paying attention to lighting.

During the day, take advantage of all the natural light leaking into your home. Turn off the overhead light so you aren’t mixing other sources and find that beautiful window light. Place your subject in an area where their face can be lit up, but not directly in the light.

If you really want to add a spark to your images, highlight your subject’s eyes with catch light by placing them in a position that allows the light to appear in the corner of their eyes and face them toward the light source. When the sun goes down or you’re away from a window, get creative with your light source — use lamps or the overhead light.

Child holding object

No catch light vs. catch light: My favorite trick during the holiday season is using Christmas lights as a backdrop while my kids play or open presents. Since the lights are behind the subject, you must find a different source to light their face, whether it’s a window or the overhead light. The key to an amazing background is to be far enough away that the lights become big blurry spots, also known as bokeh.

Have fun and be creative: Make sure you and your children have fun. If the photos are blurry or too grainy, that’s OK. Your job is to capture memories, not to get the most technically accurate photo.

Let your children do what they want instead of getting their attention. Focus on capturing each memory in a unique way with different angles and a change of perspective. Shoot wide, shoot very close, shoot at their level and shoot from above. What do you want to remember about these moments or stages of life?

Embrace the chaos: My last tip is to embrace the chaos. What do you remember about the holidays? It’s probably not an immaculate home with toys in their proper place and children that are spotless. In reality, it’s probably a mess. Capture it; every part of it!