This is what the holidays look like from here….

Growing up I used to get a lot of curious jealousy from friends during the holiday season.

“Do you REALLY get 8 nights of presents?!” they’d inquire.

Hanukkah was not as glorious as it may have appeared, and looking back on it now, those comments were funny because little did those friends know I was totally and utterly jealous of THEM. The legend of Santa, the big tree and sparkling lights, and LOTS of presents on one incredibly magical morning.

Now that I’ve married into ‘the other side’  I’ve got the best of both worlds.

But, these days I actually long for my Hanukkah traditions instead of wishing them away. I am looking forward to instilling the richness of both mommy and daddy’s holiday upbringings with our daughter as she grows up.

This was the first year Brendan and I decided to “DO” Hanukkah with her and it’s been really exciting!

Little Miss Sunshine is old enough to start understanding holidays so we went all out this week with a traditional dinner of brisket and latkes (potato pancakes), lighting the menorah, spinning driedels, and of course opening up a present or two.

It got me thinking about how we see LOTS of posts about taking better Christmas photos during this time of year, but Hanukkah seems to be sorely overlooked.

Even though the way we approach capturing the story of any holiday in a very similar manner, Hanukkah presents some challenges due to the key difference that a majority of the festivities happen after the sun goes down.

So what was my approach to facing these challenges?

1. Maximizing light – I turned on EVERY light on this floor. More light allowed my shutter to work fast enough to reduce blur a little more. The only images where we did dim a few lights were when we lite the menorah. However we did still leave a light or two on to ensure that Brie and I could still be seen in the photo too.

2. High ISO – ISO will boost your light source even more and allow your shutter to work faster too. My camera was at ISO 3200 these images (this is VERY high and some camera models don’t even got that high). This high ISO allowed my shutter speed to remain at 160-ish for a majority of the images.

3. Black and white edits – The use of overhead lights left an unsightly yellow cast on most of the shots. In the end, I converted all the images to black and white to eliminate this issue completely. Now I’m really excited to create a ‘Black and White Holidays’ themed album with ALL of our holiday traditions once December is over!

The kiddo may be old enough to appreciate and enjoy the holidays this year, but she still isn’t quite at the age for ‘remembering.

Hopefully this glimpse into our Hanukkah traditions will be something she cherishes when she’s older and helps her remember the story of how the holidays in our house for 2012 were filled with lots of happiness and love.

Your turn: Scroll down to the comments now and share what the holidays look like in your home.  What makes them special or unique? Do you live in a dual holiday household like we do? What’s the story you’re hoping to tell with your holiday images this year. Did you takeaway any tips, ideas, or inspirations in today’s article for how to capture it?

Browse the images below to start your inspiration juices flowing.

And…if you loved this post (or have any Jewish friends who might appreciate the Hanukkah photo tips!)  I hope you’ll spread the love by sharing this one on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter with easy buttons at the end of the article.