How to Capture the Perfect Family Photo for This Year’s Christmas Card

You’ve probably seen the ads: there are 8 Saturdays until Christmas! I’m sure your kids are flipping through the same Target holiday catalog that arrived in mailboxes around my neighborhood recently too. Slipping it into the recycle bin unnoticed was a complete fail, so now my girls have pointed out the trampoline they want, the Mickey Mouse car they have to have, and the furry vest they want to gift their newborn cousin.

Which means, I’m over here scrolling through my Facebook feed for the posts by all of my photographer friends about holiday mini sessions. We’ve gotta get some coordinating outfits on and snap a happy picture before the afternoon daylight hours run out. And because I usually drag out the picture printing, addressing, card stuffing, and remembering to walk them to the sidewalk postage drop into a several week process, I need to start planning now.

You too huh? Check out these fun ideas on pulling off a successful family photo to send out Christmas cheer.

1. Coordinate outfits. You don’t have to go all matchy matchy with exact replicates of smocked dresses in adult sizes too. But you should consider a coordinating color scheme. The color palette doesn’t have to be Christmasy. Consider what colors work well with your family’s skin tone and eye and hair color. Be mindful of having too many opposing patterns. Usually one dominant print mixed with other complementary colors is best.

2. Pick the right location. Natural light is the best for making your family look great. So an outdoor setting is probably your best bet. A walk through nature. A rugged barn siding. An open snowy field. Even the middle of a Christmas tree farm all make festive outdoor backdrops.

3. Consider the mood. Be true to your family here. If you are a crazy, silly bunch then by all means, let the photo you send out be an accurate representation. Don’t be afraid to capture personalities and your real life in this annual record. Especially looking back on these in later years, you’ll appreciate the memories of the outtakes.

4. Bring props. How adorable is a little baby sipping Santa’s milk and snagging his cookies?

Or a family Christmas picnic setup? Add in pieces that bring your scene to life. Props build the fun and enhance the mood for your little ones especially who you’ll want to be cooperating during the shoot.

5. Take individual shots. Even though you’ll send the family shot out to your long distance friends, since everyone is dressed and smiling you might as well take some individual pictures too. Try one of each child. Get a few of the siblings pretending to like each other. And definitely don’t overlook a couple’s photo. It’s okay to include your dogs too.

6. Try taking them yourself. You totally don’t have to be a professional photographer to take a Christmas card worthy photo of your family. You don’t even need a professional camera.  Iphones have incredible cameras these days. It’s a great alternative if all those mini sessions are booked or if you’d rather spend the money on the enticing toys in the Target catalog instead. Here’s an easy tutorial for getting great quality images from your phone.

Happy picture taking! When you load your photo to social media, we’d love for you to tag @RheaLanas if your children’s holiday attire was snagged at one of our events.