Now is the time of year when families across the world get out their cameras to attempt to take the perfect holiday photo. It’s always a struggle, isn’t it? To get everyone facing the camera, smiling, to get the lighting right, to not have red eye? It’s enough to get to you give up on the whole concept of making up holiday cards in the first place. But don’t despair, here are 10 simple steps to getting your family photos looking great.
Make Sure Everyone is Fed & Well Rested
There is absolutely no use trying to take pictures when the family is crabby and hungry, it is only going to be asking for trouble. So try picture taking after breakfast or after naptime. Everyone should be relatively happy, well rested, clean and full from a hearty breakfast or snack.
Turn off the Flash
Turning off the flash on your camera will do two things. It will eliminate red eye and will give your faces a more natural look. This will mean that you will either have to go outside or stand by a window. Before you take your photo, search out the lightest room in your house, open all the window coverings and hold your photo session there. If the photo still comes out too dark or fuzzy it is time to head outside.
Stand in the Shade
I spend my entire childhood being told to stand facing the sun when I had my picture taken. Its a miracle that I even have my eyesight for all of the squinting I did. This is not only unpleasant for the person getting their picture taken, but I’ve found that pictures taken in full sun either come out overexposed or with funky shadows. So I’ve discovered that standing in full shade is the best spot. Because you are outside, it is light enough where you don’t need a flash, yet the solid shade provides an even tone over your face to result in a beautiful picture.
Put Baby in the Car Seat
When babies are too young to sit up by themselves, it can be challenging to find a good spot to prop them up. Try lining their removable infant car seat with your favorite blanket and place it outside in full shade. This will give them a nice seat to sit in and give them a pretty background too.
Get Down at Their Eye Level
If the main subject of your holiday card is your little one, make sure you bend down to get at their level. Doing this will really help capture their true facial expressions and help engage the viewer. That said….
Try Shooting from Different Angles
If your baby is very tiny, try laying them down on the ground and shooting from directly above them. Place something near them to illustrate just how tiny and precious they are. Or decorate their surrounding with some seasonal decor.
Wrapping Paper Background
Have you ever noticed the cute backgrounds they use in the parenting magazines? Why not hang up a festive piece of wrapping paper on a brightly lit wall and have your little one sit or stand in front of that? Or if you are taking a family photo, why not use a holiday bed sheet strung on a clothesline for a background like this?
Use a Summertime Photo
Why battle for the perfect ‘festive’ themed photo when you have a perfect family beach photo from June? Remember your friends and family want to see you happy and smiling in your card and they won’t mind a bit if your photo is six months old.
Go Black and White
If the colors just aren’t right in your photo, use your photo editor to convert the photo to black and white. While many professional photographers might not agree, to use amateurs a lot of photo sins can be erased once you take out the color.
If All Else Fails…
Go for a photo collage card. If you somehow can’t manage to get a photo of everyone looking handsome and happy at one time, try a photo collage card to get everyone’s smiling face into one page.
Now, where should you order your holiday photos? Snapfish (where you can get November Promotion 15% off holiday cards + 50 FREE 4×6 prints to new customers!) and Tiny Prints are my two favorites. To see a round up of all the online photo card prices, check out The Mother Load.
How about you, do you have any holiday photo taking tips? Or care to link to your holiday card photo?