10 Tips for Capturing the Perfect Family Holiday Card Photo

The holidays are quickly approaching and many families are planning on sending holiday cards to friends and family. Your card may or may not include an overview of the past year, but chances are it does include a family photo. There is a lot of pressure to make sure that your holiday card features an amazing photo - one that you haven’t yet posted to social media and one that shows off your family at its best. There is a lot of pressure to get it right, but you need not worry too much.

Tamara Lackey, a professional family photographer, Nikon Ambassador, CreativeLive instructor and author has ten tips to make getting the prefect family holiday card photo a breeze.

  1. Light up your scene: The first thing you’ll want to do is think about lighting up the scene. If you’re taking photos indoors, determine where your family should be situated based on where the light source is. For instance, windows make an excellent source of natural light, or consider using light from lamps to brighten up the scene. If there isn’t enough light in the room, add a Speedlight onto your camera – this is the quickest way to brighten up your scene with minimal effort.
  2. Coordinate your colors: Clothing is key for the perfect holiday card! Try to avoid bold patterns or prints that will distract the viewer’s eye away from the people in your family. I would recommend wearing neutral tones that will not clash with one another or the background of your photo. Avoid having a photo feel staged with matching outfits – but rather simply coordinate to make your photo authentic and genuine.  
  3. Keep it simple: Set the stage with a simple background that will not distract attention away from the point of focus, your family. For example, shooting in front of a brick fireplace or pine tree in your backyard make for festive backdrops but don't require a lot of effort on your part.
  4. Picture-perfect posing: Posing is essential to the success of any group shot! Prior to shooting, decide how you want your family to be arranged by choosing different combinations of standing or sitting shots. Take a variety of photos in different poses so that you have a variety of options to select from.
  5. Make it natural: One major challenge of family portraiture is that your images look too staged. Make the shooting experience fun for the entire family to create genuine laughter and authentic smiles. As we all know, children have short attention spans, so don’t be afraid to get silly by making funny faces or telling jokes.
  6. Explore new perspectives: Changing the angle of your camera can create a photograph that looks entirely different from the first! Play with the angle to get a diverse album of shots to select from. For instance, change the level of your shot by crouching down to get to a child’s eye level or shooting from high above to get a wider frame of view. The tilting screen of a DSLR camera is an especially helpful feature for adding flexibility to your vantage point.
  7. There is no “rule book”: When it comes to photography – it is okay to not always play by the rules! It is important to always be in the moment of your shot – and react to elements in real-time to capture the perfect shot. You can go into a photoshoot with a game plan, but get ready to pivot based on what is going on around you!
  8. Snap away: One difficulty of the perfect family photo is capturing everyone at the right time! The larger the family – the more difficult it is to grab everyone’s attention. Look to fast lenses and high shutter speeds that will allow you to snap lots of shots to get your entire family in focus.
  9. Step up to a DSLR: Step up your smartphone photography by using a DSLR camera that will capture an image with even better resolution and quality. After spending the time setting up your family photo, with the perfect background and clothing coordination, you will want to use a camera that will make you look your best.
  10. Get creative with props: Get in the holiday spirit by adding festive props to your photos. Have your family (and maybe a family pet, too), wear reindeer or Santa hats, or use garlands as scarves - or simply position your children next to wrapped presents, snowy scenes, anything that can help share some holiday cheer this season.

Contributor has no interest in anyone or anything mentioned.

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