Holiday Family Photo Tips

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  When it comes to photo greeting cards, some are definitely better than others. Follow our pro tips to take this year’s family Christmas card from awkward to awesome.

  1. Plan ahead.
    The pros go into every photo shoot with a plan, and you should, too. Scout your location ahead of time, think of a few poses to try, and mentally place everyone and everything that’s going in your photo. You’ll get better results and save time in the long run.
     
  2. Coordinate your outfits, but don’t match.
    Forcing all of your family members into matching outfits isn’t winning you any extra points with Santa, and it’s not doing much for your greeting cards, either. Picking a theme and letting your relatives pick their own outfits will not only make for a more visually interesting photo, but also gives everyone the opportunity to look their best. Believe us, your family will thank you.
     
  3. Go outdoors.
    Unless you’ve got a photography studio in your house or an impressive variety of indoor lighting, your best photos will be taken outdoors. Natural light (the kind provided by the sun) will give your subjects the most flattering skin tones and accurate color representations. Avoid direct sunlight by positioning everyone in open shade or time your photo shoot just before sunset. If you must shoot at high noon, be sure to position everyone with the sun at an indirect angle; backlit photos will make everyone appear silhouetted and facing the sun will make everyone squint.
     
  4. Flash is not your friend.
    If weather or other factors force your photo shoot indoors, avoid using your on-camera flash if at all possible. Using the flash will result in red eyes and off color tints on your pictures; open the blinds wide and turn on the available ambient lighting instead.


  5. Phone a friend.
    The camera timer is a great invention, but a family photo is better served by a countdown to the shutter snap. Have a friend available to push the button so nobody has to risk life and limb diving back into the frame.
     
  6. Act fast.
    If your family photos will include babies, kids, or pets, this may be the most important tip for you. Make sure babies are well-rested and well-fed and exercise your pets well before picture time. Overcome the challenge of short attention spans by bringing along a favorite toy or snack. Reposition frequently and take breaks often to keep everyone engaged.
     
  7. Beat the blinkers.
    It’s the perfect photo-- every hair is in place and every smile is bright-- and then there’s Aunt Gertrude, right in front with her eyes shut tight. Avoid the dreaded blink by instructing everyone to close their eyes tightly until the count of three. When their eyes fly open, snap the perfect pic and call it a day.
     
  8. Props for props.
    The best family photos convey a sense of fun, and adding props can take yours from blah to ha with little cost or effort. Add in some gift-wrapped boxes, Christmas lights, or other holiday-themed things to make your Christmas portrait stand out. Get creative, and have fun!

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