Can you believe that there’s only 5 1/2 weeks until Christmas? It’s definitely time to start thinking about getting your family portraits taken for your holiday cards. Today I’m sharing some tips for taking holiday card photos that you will love!
Most of these tips come straight from an awesome source- my brother! He’s an amazing bay area portrait photographer who takes great family photos, and I asked him for his top tips to share with you.
Whether you are getting your holiday photos professionally taken or having a friend or family member take them, try out these tips for some great shots! All photos are from the Minted holiday collection, which I love.
These tips for taking holiday card photos are brought to you by Minted. All ideas and opinions are always 100% my own.
Keep it Simple-
Your family holiday photos are NOT the time to pull out the bold prints and patterns. Solid colors (or a small amount of very minimal patterns) look best in photos. However, avoid being too “matchy matchy,” and wearing the exact same outfit as the rest of the people in your group. It’s best to choose a few coordinating colors and have everyone wear variations of those. White is a no-no, however, since it can make you appear larger than you really are, and nobody wants that!
The Golden Hour-
The hour before sunset, known as the golden hour, is when the lighting is the best for photos. In the middle of the day the sunlight is bright and harsh, which can cast unflattering shadows on faces and cause subjects to squint, which you definitely don’t want. Instead, take your photos just before sunset, when the light is soft and golden.
Bribe Only if Necessary-
Many parents will bring candy for their kids to bribe them to take good photos. There is however, a right and wrong way to do this. You can only tell your kids for so long that if they do a good job they’ll get candy. Many parents try to stretch it out for too long before they give it to the kids, which makes for whiny and upset kids, which again, makes for bad photos. Use candy only as a last resort. Don’t mention that you have a treat unless it is absolutely necessary!
If You Do Decide to Bribe…
If you do decide to bribe your kids with treats for good photos, make sure to choose a snack that’s not messy and that can be quickly eaten. Big and messy treats are a no-no, as are anything that they suck on (because it will take too long to eat, and will make for an awkward mouth shape). M&M’s are a great choice, because you can give your kids 2 or 3, and they’ll be eaten quickly so that you can get right back to taking pictures.
Give Em’ a Break-
Don’t plan on having your kids stand and look at the camera the whole time. They won’t last the entire shoot with their happy face on, and will need a break. Instead, bring props or toys to give them something to do later in the photo shoot when they have had it with posing. It will keep them busy, will get some smiles on their faces, and give you some awesome and natural candid photos!
Here are a few examples of some fun props- coins to throw in a fountain, a picnic lunch, sand toys or a skall boat (like in the adorable shot above), or even a movement game that you have ready to play. You’ll also get more natural smiles and expressions from the kids (and parents) from these shots.
Don’t wait for the photographer to pose you. Before your photo shoot, look up photos poses and styles that you like, and try to mimic those styles. You can even practice in the mirror to see how certain poses and faces will look in real life, to make sure it’s what you want for your photos. The photographer is often thinking about so many different technical aspects of the photos, like the lighting, angles, etc., that it’s nice when you can be a bit pro-active and pose your family how you would like them. Then the photographer can make small adjustments and tweaks as necessary.
In order to get that perfect Christmas card photo, you’re going to have to take a lot of photos. Don’t be afraid of taking too many! Not only will you have more photos to choose from, but you’ll also have varied expressions. After the initial photos are taken, photo subjects tend to relax, which results in more natural expressions.
I Like to Move It-
Professional models don’t just strike one pose. They keep their movements fluid and are continuously moving. You’ll want to use that same concept with your family photos. Pretend that a video is being taken, not just one photo. Just be sure while moving and posing that all family member’s faces are kept looking at the camera.
Baby It’s Cold Outside-
Don’t forget that as the sun is going down, it will get cold! Bring sweaters and jackets that coordinate with outfits just in case they are necessary. When family members are cold, they shiver, hunch, and huddle, which doesn’t make for great photos. Coordinating layers are also a great way to combat the cold, without wearing big bulky jackets. Happy kids make for happy photos!
I hope these tips for taking holiday card photos helps you get great portraits! After you get your amazing family photos back, you’ll want to showcase them in a beautiful card.
Minted has THE most beautiful Christmas and holiday cards. I’ve ordered from them before, and their quality is outstanding! Minted also has an option called Find it Fast, where you can upload your photos and see them in many cards at once, which saves lots of time and makes it easy to pick your favorite cards. The only hard part about ordering with Minted is choosing which design you like the best, since they have tons of amazing options, including gorgeous gold foil designs, too!
Be sure to check out their new holiday collection for high-quality, gorgeous cards that will make your holiday photos look even more amazing! You can follow Minted on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for more inspiration and to keep up to date on their latest sales. They also have an amazing blog, Julep, that is FULL of lovely ideas.
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