Take the Perfect Holiday-Card Photo (with your phone!)

How is it mid-December already? If you’ve been putting off your holiday cards (procrastinators, unite!), don’t fret—there’s still plenty of time to pull off a stylish Christmas card or holiday greeting. And if you weren’t able to book a professional family photo shoot, no worries. Just use your smartphone’s camera and follow these tips from professional photographer Edyta Szyszlo to stage a successful DIY shoot (no one will know the difference!).

Last Minute Christmas Cards: How to Get Great Family Photos with Your Phone

1. Find natural light.
Natural light allows for more even skin tones and better image quality. Avoid being “backlit,” which happens when the brightest light is behind you, and instead, seek shade (no more squinting eyes!). Also, be sure to ditch the flash (because let’s face it—no one looks good with a harsh light in their face!).

2. Phone a friend.
Ask a friend or family member to take your picture—smartphones have better image quality when using the forward-facing camera.

Last Minute Christmas Cards: How to Get Great Family Photos with Your Phone

3. Think: Selfies!
However, if you can’t recruit a friend to play photographer, then it’s perfectly fine to go the selfie route—they’re great for a fun, candid feel. Be sure the person with the longest arm is snapping the photo (or use a selfie stick!) and shoot from above for a more flattering look. Pro tip: Use the camera’s shutter shortcut for better hand positioning.

Click through for more cameraphone tips

4. Wipe the camera lens.
Your phone sits in your pocket or purse all day, picking up lint, fingerprints, and all sorts of grime, which means there’s a good chance that your phone photos have been looking a little blurry lately. Clean the cameraphone lens with a microfiber cloth or a wipe designed for cameras; a cotton swab moistened with distilled water can also take off stubborn grime.

5. When in doubt, opt for black and white.
Black-and-white image filters built into your smartphone offer a more timeless and classic look that works for pretty much any holiday card or Christmas card design.

6. Don’t overthink it!
Your friends and family will love seeing any photo of you and your family, period.

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