If you’ve been putting off your holiday cards, don’t stress—there’s still plenty of time to pull off a stylish holiday card or Christmas greeting. And if you weren’t able to book a professional family photo shoot, no worries. Just use your smartphone’s camera and follow our tips to stage a successful DIY shoot.
Keep things simple by choosing a spot that’s familiar and comfortable for your family. Your backyard, the front steps, or a nearby park are all great outdoor options; if it’s easier to photograph everyone at home, just be sure to choose a location with a clean backdrop, like the living room sofa or kitchen counter.
Create a put-together look by coordinating your family’s outfits in a cohesive color palette. Don’t go too matchy-matchy but make sure not to mix warm and cool tones or wear clashing colors. Bundle up in cozy neutral knits, add seasonal accessories for a festive touch, or simply time your photo session with a family event when everyone’s looking their best.
Natural light allows for more even skin tones and better photos. Plan to take your photos during "golden hour," the last hour of sunlight when the light is warm and diffused. Avoid being “backlit,” which happens when the brightest light is behind you, and instead, seek shade (to avoid squinting eyes). Also, be sure to turn off the flash.
If you want to go for a more fun, candid feel, don’t be afraid to go the selfie route. 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.
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 camera phone lens with a microfiber cloth or a wipe designed for cameras; a cotton swab moistened with distilled water can also take off stubborn grime.