Q. How can I take family snapshots this season that go beyond "Everybody stand in front of the tree and smile"?

A. Here are tips from professionals:

*Take photos of kids on Hanukkah nights or Christmas Eve in their pajamas, says Gretchen Murcott of Chickadee Photography in Port Washington. "When they're in their pajamas, they tend to relax."

*Don't ask them to look at the camera and smile. Candid photos of family interaction can be more lively, she says.

*Photograph kids playing with the toys they've just received. "You can capture them lost in their own world."

*Get a tight shot of a child's face to capture expressions when, for instance, she is opening a gift, says Tracy Gorman, owner of Clix Portrait Studios in Huntington. "With holiday snapshots, it's all about capturing the moment."

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*"Parents need to sit down on the floor with kids and take pictures at their level," says Cara Hromoda of Cara Hromada Photography in Center Moriches. "It's more of an intimate portrait."

*Do a dry run, suggests Heather Bugalla of Forever Fireflies Photography in Nesconset. "For us, it was a very big moment when my son was old enough to light the menorah for the first time." Light a candle yourself, and photograph it beforehand to ensure you get the money shot when the time comes.

*In a group shot with kids, resist looking down at them to make sure they're behaving, or you'll be looking down in the shots, Bugalla says.