Tips for Great Family Photos This Christmas

Drawn Frame Holiday Card

Drawn Frame by Snow and Ivy

The changing leaves and dropping temperatures signal the holiday season quickly approaching. Soon it’ll be time to tackle the family photo for this year’s Christmas card. When it comes to taking a great family photo there are many factors that need to be considered. From scheduling to picking a location and deciding what everyone will wear, it can easily become overwhelming. We have created some tips for great family photos below and a few ideas for where to take Christmas pictures.

Take the opportunity to turn your family Christmas photo shoot into a fun and memorable activity everyone will appreciate. This will allow you to capture thoughtful and timeless photos that your family can look back on thankful for the memories. Whether you hire a professional photographer, ask a friend, or decide to take the photos yourself, there are so many ways to turn the photoshoot into a memorable day.

Where to take Christmas Pictures - Outdoor Photo Shoot Ideas

Graphite Holiday Card

Graphite by fatfatin

Between the natural lighting and colors of the seasonal foliage it’s hard to go wrong with an outdoor Christmas picture. Motivate the family by turning the photo shoot into a day packed with adventure, or just an opportunity for everyone to spend time together out in the fresh air. Incorporating your family photo shoot into an engaging family outing will ensure you are met with the least resistance. Whether you choose to stay close to home or venture someplace new, there are endless opportunities for outdoor photo opportunities and here are our outdoor family Christmas photo ideas.

  • Get an early start this fall and add a family outing to the nearby apple farm or pumpkin patch to the calendar. While the kids are engaged picking as many apples as they can hold, you can capture a few candid pictures without them noticing. Have a contest to see who can find the biggest pumpkin and snap a photo of the entire family at the end so no one can dispute who the winner was in the future.
  • Ready to pick out the family Christmas tree? Bring the camera along to document the journey. Head to the Christmas tree farm in the early evening just before it gets dark. This way you can take a few photos during the lingering “golden hour” as well as under the twinkling lights once the sun goes down. Be sure to pack extra mittens and hot cocoa to keep everyone warm.
  • There’s nothing more classic than a white Christmas. Bundle everyone up in their warmest clothing and head outside to build a snowman together. Even snowmen like to head south for the winter, so if you aren’t in driving distance to the snow head to the local beach, lake, or park sandbox to make your own snowman out of sand. You can even bring the carrot nose and a scarf to complete the look. Be sure to get a few family photos before you start building and then some more once you’ve added another member to the family.
  • For a simple and meaningful experience look no further than your own neighborhood. Go for an early evening walk around the block or to the nearest park to catch the last rays of the day and snap a few photos along the way. Finish off the shoot watching the sunset and then head home for pizza and a movie.

Where to Take Christmas Pictures - Indoor Family Photo Shoot Ideas

dotted line snowflakes Holiday Card

dotted line snowflakes by Cass Loh

When the weather outside is frightening, light a fire and whip up some warm cider for a cozy photoshoot. You can play around with lighting and backdrops to create a variety of settings and keep everyone engaged throughout the shoot with holiday themed family projects. Indoor family photo shoots can also be a great back-up plan for when the weather is not cooperating with your outdoor plans, but you still want a creative Christmas card photo.

  • Dedicate an afternoon to baking cookies and writing letters to Santa. Don’t be afraid to get messy and be generous with the frosting and sprinkles. Take it a step further and provide everyone their own personalized apron and cooking mitts to guarantee a sweet family photo. You can even share your favorite cookie recipe from the day with friends and family when you send out your Christmas card.
  • Bring out everyone’s inner artist and break out the art supplies to set up a makeshift art studio turned photo studio. Work together to create one big family painting or have everyone create their own individual piece of art. Photograph the creative process and when you’re done frame and hang the pictures to create your own family art studio where everyone can pose with their pictures at the end.
  • For a versatile, yet simple family photo, get creative and play around with different poses on your staircase. From oldest to youngest or tallest to shortest the possibilities to mix it up are endless. Hang stockings or a garland on the banister to add in some holiday merriment.
  • Stay dry and warm by bringing the snow inside for a white christmas. Spend time cutting out paper snowflakes to adhere to the wall as a backdrop. Then use white feathers from an old pillow or shredded printer paper to create “snow” to coat the floor and toss in the air when taking the pictures. Let everyone pick out their favorite scarf and hat to wear as a finishing touch.

Funny Family Christmas Photo Shoot Ideas

Laughing Holiday Card

Laughing by peony papeterie

Spread holiday cheer by sending out a funny family Christmas card this year. It can be tough to get everyone to cooperate for the perfect family photo. Adding a hint of humor can put everyone at ease and make the experience more enjoyable all around. Here are a few funny Christmas card ideas that are the perfect way to share the holiday merriment with your friends and family this year.

  • Bring in the props for a family christmas card guaranteed to make people laugh. Replicate your own family photo booth and have fun with the photoshoot by using silly hats, paper cut outs, and anything else you can think of. Incorporating props is a fun way to add a pop of color and bring another element into the family photo.
  • Make sure everyone is ready to go. In order to take a great family Christmas photo every member of the family should be present. This means including our furry, four-legged friends. Have every member of the family dress up in festive pajamas and make sure the dog or cat has a pair too. It may be harder to get the pets to pose than the kids, but you’ll be guaranteed some great candid photos.
  • For a funny, but sentimental Christmas card recreate a memorable photo from a previous year. This is a great way for family and friends to see how the children have grown and the family has changed over the years. Not to mention prompt a few laughs while you are at it. You can even include a letter to highlight memorable events and changes that occurred over the past year.
  • Before you get ready to decorate the Christmas tree, use the lights as a prop for your family Christmas photo ideas. Wrap everyone up in the colorful strings for a family photo op sure to light up the room. After getting the initial pictures you can turn the photoshoot into a productive session of tree decorating.

Last Minute Tips for Great Family Photos

Minimal Holiday Card

Minimal by Owl and Toad

Maybe it’s because the days get shorter, but time seems to fly by during the holidays. There’s never enough time to check everything off the list that needs to be done. Don’t worry if Christmas snuck up before you had the chance to get the family in front of the camera. Use our guide of 28 Christmas activities to schedule a festive family activity and capture the perfect photo to send out as a wrap up to 2019.

  • What could be better than a photo of the kids posed next to a towering Christmas tree and a mountain of colorful presents? The pure joy in a child’s face as they tear open their first gift. Pull out the camera (or iphone) and carry the excitement in to 2020 with candid photos of your family from Christmas morning.
  • Take advantage of everyone dressing up for family gatherings you plan on attending. Try to have the family ready a few minutes before you plan to leave to snap a few quick pictures as you head out. If you’re racing to get out the door, grab a friend or family member at the gathering to take some photos for you.
  • Was there a memorable event from the previous year were you got a great family photo? Rather than trying to bring the family together for a new picture, why not use an existing photo instead. Including a picture of the family from the past year that speaks to an important event like a birthday, graduation, or other milestone is a great way to update your friends and family.
  • If you are planning a trip over the holiday season, schedule in an hour or so to get a family photo. Whether it’s a landmark you plan to visit or a beautiful landscape, planning ahead will ensure that you have enough time and can enlist the help you’ll need.

Holiday Family Photo Shoot Outfit Ideas

encompassing Holiday Card

encompassing by Jennifer Wick

It may be towards the bottom of this list, but probably the first thing that pops into your mind when preparing for the family Christmas photo shoot.

What’s everyone going to wear?

Often we rush to get the outfits out of the way before considering where and when the photoshoot will take place. Simplify this part of the process by establishing a setting first and then draw your inspiration from there.

  • Remember that comfort is important. No matter where you take the photos make sure everyone is comfortable in what they are wearing. Not only will this prevent awkward tugging at clothing, but it will also make the entire experience more enjoyable for everyone.
  • Match your color palette to the season. Look out your window and combine the classic holiday colors with the natural colors you see outside. Try to make sure everyone is in a cohesive color palette and avoid wearing clashing colors and patterns.
  • For outdoor photos opt for a combination of rich and understated earth tones for a timeless and natural look. If you’re going to be active, wear clothes you can move in and are not afraid to get a little dirty.
  • Staying inside? Get comfy in pajamas or cozy sweaters. While matching is always fun, don’t be afraid to mix and match styles for playful yet cohesive look.
  • Dress for the weather. Make sure you bring extra layers if it’s going to be cold and don’t force your family to spend over an hour in turtleneck sweaters if it’s 75 degrees or hotter.
  • Consider outfits already in your closet.Save yourself time and money by shopping for outfits in everyone’s closet first before heading out to the store. By choosing clothing outfits for your family to wear that you already own, you will free up time to do other things and if you do need to go shopping you will already have a specific list of what everyone needs.

While you can’t make the sun shine or control everyone’s mood, there are measures you can take to prepare for bumps in the road. Put the extra effort and thought in ahead of time to save yourself from unnecessary stress during the photoshoot. These tips will help prevent your children from having a meltdown at your Family Christmas photo shoot.

  • Set your family up for success. Make sure the family gets a good night of sleep and that everyone eats before the shoot to boost overall moral. Pack a few snacks or treats to have on hand to pull out if needed.
  • Create a resonasble schedule. Be strategic when scheduling your family’s photoshoot to avoid overlapping with nap times or work hours. Schedule enough time so you are not rushed, but don’t spend hours trying to force a photo.
  • Plan buffer time. Whether you’re planning on taking the photos in your backyard or an hour drive away, allow extra time to get ready than you expect the family to take and plan to arrive early. This will limit the disruption that any last minute “emergencies” may cause.

Trying to take the perfect family photo can be an overwhelming experience. Ultimately, the best family photos emerge from the in-between moments that the camera captures. The unposed ones where everyone feels comfortable enough to let their guard down and enjoy each other’s company. Remember not to let yourself get wrapped up in the minor details and to have fun with it. Christmas cards are a way to share holiday cheer with family and friends, so enjoy the process!