So in what is now an annual event, once more I plonked myself behind the camera taking photos in Santa’s grotto at Wrenthorpe Primary School (previous instalments are documented from from 2009 and 2008).

Refresher: it entailed taking pics of Santa and kids after they’d just got their gifts. The ‘grotto’ is a little side-room with ‘fireplace’ and obligatory sled full of toys, and a sideroom where I hid until required to take pics plus the computer operator could sit to print the images. The first time we did it there were about 180 pics and around 250 kids so it’s not something to be done lightly.

This year I repeated last year’s setup with one important change: Adobe Lightroom 3 now has a ‘tethering’ feature. This means you can plug your camera direct into the computer with a USB cable, take a pic and LR3 will process and make available the photo immediately; the new print function also enables two pics to be selected and I can immediately slap two 6×4 photos on one piece of A4 with all colour modifications. Much quicker, and lots less messing around.

I had a willing assistant in Alex, a lovely lass who’d never used a Mac or LR3 but still cottoned onto the process pretty quickly. I reckon that with a little practice I could probably do it all on my own, really.

The other (minor) change was in the off-body aerial flashgun. I used a 420ex last year on a stand with a remote trigger, but this year used a 250W strobe with an umbrella. Slightly less harsh, lots more control over intensity.

(I love Lightroom 3, it makes life so much easier…)