Advice on Family Holiday Pictures

Thursday, November 14, 2013

With Christmas coming up, I had some friends emailing me asking what my recommendations are for family pictures...what to wear, what to bring for props, how to make the most of your time, etc. I wish I was an expert in the world of photography, but alas, I'm not (I think ya'll know that by now). I guess I just get an idea in my head and roll with it. Here are a few tips to get your creative juices flowing!
1. Select a Colorway. No, I don't mean everyone has to wear green sweaters and dark jeans...I'm saying think of colors you want to highlight in your images and work around that. For example, this year, I knew I wanted to incorporate red into our attire. For me, that meant making sure the scarf I wore had red in the pattern. With the girls, it gets tricky. Ya'll know I love me some matching mini attire, but I held out and didn't do it...rather, Carson wore a red ponte knit dress and Caroline sported a poppy print dress (both from Gap) and then both wore cute boots and fun hair accessories. Then it came time to dress Jeff...thank heavens I have an easy husband. I picked out the shirt and sweater, and the rest is history. This is our final look. (No, neither of these were the final picture chosen for the card, but you'll see those soon enough!)
2. Work with What You've Got. Once you add kids into the picture, a photoshoot gets VERY tricky. As in, trying to get adults + kiddies looking in the same direction AND smiling is almost impossible. As long as no one has their eyes shut and there are no visible tears, you can call it a success. I'm a perfectionist, but some things you just have to let go...yes, speaking from experience here people. Make the best of your situation, and just thank the good Lord you have a family (whether that be friends, family, pets, etc) to take your pictures with!
3. Props Can Be Fun! We haven't done this for Christmas cards recently, but we did a few for when I was pregnant with Caroline...we had a stocking made with her name on it to share with people who didn't know we were expecting. It was a fun little tidbit that made pictures more personal. I have seen other cute props as well...ranging from banners to chalkboard art to blankets to fake snow and everything in between. Have fun with it and it will be something you can look back on fondly.
4. Be a Savvy Shopper. Jeff hates it when it comes time to order Christmas cards...he knows it's going to cost an arm and a leg given a pretty large mailing list, but I am always searching for a good deal to help save some money. For instance, this year I ordered our cards from Minted, but waited until I was emailed a 20% discount AND had free shipping AND $10 off from their site before I ordered. It made me feel SO good, too! Be patient...trust me, websites will be offering TONS of discounts in the coming weeks to get shoppers to purchase.

And as a bonus, stay tuned, because I will be giving away a gift certificate for 50 free holiday cards from Cardstore next week! Hope this helps...good luck to everyone taking family pictures...I cannot wait to start opening holiday mail--sure does make me happy to see the postman :)

- 26 Comments

  1. Natasha! I love all of your tips, great ones! I need to wait for that 20% off for minted, dang i missed it! Also, I am cracking up because today I posted our outfit inspiration for our photoshoot this weekend :) We must be on the same wave link! Adorable photos, can't wait to see the rest!

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  2. I love coordinating outfits versus matchy matchy and the girls look wonderful!

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  3. You guys look great! I just love family Christmas cards :)

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  4. Such great advice! We just took our daughter's 1 year photos and had so much fun.

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  5. Great tips! Family pictures can be SO STRESSFUL! Especially with kiddos!

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  6. Love all of these tips!! Vistaprint also runs pretty good specials too if you're ever looking for another site. Love y'alls colors this year!!

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  7. You guys are TOO CUTE! Love the outfits and the location. At the rate I'm going this year, it's going to be New Year's Cards with pictures from our photo session in May. I'm working on the letting go of perfection thing too. :)

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  8. Great post!! And what beautiful pics of your family. I think family pics are really difficult to pull off and the planning ahead of time can be so stressful. I love the sweet little stocking you had when you were expecting Caroline. What a great idea!!

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  9. These are so sweet! I love the mossy steps you guys found. I'm waiting until we have an extra family member to start the Christmas photos...such a fun tradition and I love seeing everyone's ideas!

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  10. Great tips! We are doing our family pics while we are in Disney in two weeks. I am still trying to decide on outfits!

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  11. Love how you announced to friends and family with a stocking. That is adorable!

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  12. First - LOVE the photos! your family is beautiful! Second - excellent tips =) My family does a portrait every year for my parent's to send out Christmas cards and this will be our first year sending out cards. I will definitely have to hold out for specials and free shipping and MAYBE free 'money'!

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  13. Love this post and it comes at the perfect time! We are having our family photos done tomorrow and I am like you, I love coordinating, but not matchy :) I hope they turn out alright. Yours turned out great!

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  14. So jealous you got smiles! Elise was not having it during ours!! :) She would only smile for me or Daddy, which means no good group shot...ha! Oh well, got some good ones of the monkey!! Love the outfits, btw!

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  15. Love this, all of you guys look so cute!

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  16. Look at Caroline's smile!!! How precious! And i love the red!!! Excited to see which card you choose!

    Such a sucker for props! This year we used a little "May 2014" embroidered baby Santa hat as our prop. Can't wait to see how they turned out!

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  17. Great family photos! Can't wait to see your Christmas card this year! And this is great advice!

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  18. such a sweet family pic! This was a great reminder were shooting ours tomorrow and have a feeling it will be comedy hour lol

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  19. I love holiday mail! I'm itching to take our holiday picture but I'll have to wait until we have someone who can take it for us and try to get our little mini me to smile. Can't wait to see what you choose!

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  20. Love the tips! It's so hard to pick out outfits without being too "matchy matchy".

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  21. gosh, your pictures are too cute! What a sweet little family you have.

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  22. Lovely post, thanks for sharing your happiness with us.

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  23. Darling pics!!! Such a beautiful family! Where is your top from??

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  24. After a rather frustrating photoshoot with our two pups today, #2 definitely rings true! I needed to hear that today:)

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