- Give yourself plenty of time. Most of us decide to shoot the family photo for Christmas cards at the last possible moment. Long after the holiday cookies have been baked and gift packages mailed off to loved ones in remote parts of the country, we are still talking about the need to take the family photo. Avoid the drama by planning ahead. Consider taking the photo around the Thanksgiving holiday. This is a great time to focus on capturing the family photo while everyone is still relaxed from being away from work or school. As a rule of thumb, I highly recommend having cards ready for mailing by the second week in December. Shooting the photo around Thanksgiving we give you two full weeks to edit your photos, send/receive cards from photo finisher, and label your envelopes.
- Plan out how you want card to look. At my house we receive a significant amount of holiday photo cards. We love looking at how much children have grown and admiring the newborns. After all, the Christmas card photos are mainly to show off the children. Really can’t think of too many photos with just a couple. With this in mind, understand the focus of your photo is to showcase the family. Think of ways to highlight the family, especially children, in your composition.
- Be original, to a certain degree. Having an original photo composition does make for an interesting picture; however, everything in moderation. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to create a classic. Card photos, are first and foremost, a way to clearly document your family. Make photo time a fun and happy occasion. Play around the different poses, smiling is encouraged.
- Decide on Dress Code. While matching outfits with holiday colors is a popular approach ( note – red doesn’t photograph well), you can also allow everyone involved to select their own attire. As long as the group clothing selections blend to a certain degree, happy faces should be your main concern.
- Don’t make this a marathon photo shoot. As a photographer, chances are you are more into photography than the subjects you are shooting. Christmas card photo shoots should not last no more than 30 minutes. People quickly get hungry, grouchy, bored, and impatient as you ponder yet another family pose. Plan ahead. Let everyone know up front what your plan is and how many different poses to expect. Practice any special techniques you wish to try out ahead of time.
- Edit your photos. Prior to sending a final image to your photo finisher, be sure that you have cleaned up images to the best of your ability. Christmas card photos are kept forever, so take steps to make your keepsake special. There are numerous free photo editing software applications available to you online. Remove all red eyes and trash from background. Darken edges for a more professional look and crop liberally.
There you have it. Our 6 simple tips for creating better Christmas card photos. Hope this helps. Feel free to list some tips or hints you would like to share!