Ask Elizabeth: You always have beautiful photos for your Christmas cards! How do you do it?
Yes! Christmas Cards! What dreams are made of! I am a huge fan of making Christmas Cards every year and I even set out the old ones as part of our holiday display! Getting photos of the family taken is one of my favorite things so this question is perfect!
Tips for Taking Great Family Holiday Photos
If you want to make and get your Christmas cards out by December 1st, try getting photos end of October/ beginning of November so that you have time to order them and send them out. I know things may not yet feel festive but it is coming! The last several years we have actually used our anniversary photos in August so we didn’t need to rush to get photos to order. This year I really wanted the Christmas feel and got out in one of our first snows to get these pictures! If you are past my suggested dates – don’t freak out! Many photographers are still doing photos or you can set up a tripod real quick and gather the family.
Pick Your Outfits
There are so many ways you can go with this – outdoor casual, fancy holiday party, Christmas jamies, etc. Pick the style you want and make sure your whole family fits the theme. You will want everyone to match but not necessarily be in the same thing (unless it is matching jamies!) A lot of the time your outfits also match the location. So if you are outside in snow a more bundled look may be best verses being in your favorite coffee shop or a local hotel that does Christmas up. Since I wanted snow photos this year, our outfits match that weather but still look good together!
Have Fun/ Unpose
Your photographer will probably help you do this, but don’t just smile at the camera. Laugh, walk, talk and have fun. Let yourself loosen up and let your family be themselves. We tried so hard to get Hilde to smile for these photos but her 12 week old self was too busy wondering why we were out in the snow with a camera. But I didn’t worry about it! This is our family and our season of life! I still love these precious photos!
Go when there is Snow
I’m never able to get this one to work out for me but this year we lucked out! I texted my photographer Ashlee while it was snowing and told her we would love a family session in the snow if possible! We both jumped on the last minute train and got the photos! Here in Colorado the snow melts so fast so you really have to be on it!
Can you take photos in a Christmas Tree farm, in the snow, ice skating, drinking hot cocoa, or something festive you love to do? While vacation photos do work for Christmas cards, sometimes it feels more fitting to share a bundled up family photo and not swimsuits on the beach. If you are trying to get the photo before Christmas decor is up, think of other ways to make it feel like Christmas. Take photos near evergreens or bring a wreath (a fake one that you have in storage.) You can make a photo look like Christmas even if it is not!
Book your Fav Photographer
We love Ashlee and she takes all our family photos. I know her so well, I can just text to schedule our photos (and do the last minute thing. She rocks! All you Colorado locals need to check her out.) If you don’t ave a go-to photographer, you can find a local one you like by searching Instagram hashtags or asking your friends. Instagram Tip: Find someone who posts photos you like. This sounds like a no brainier but I know people who book photographers and want them to edit in a different style. Don’t be that person. Find a photographer that edits in the style you like. A lot of photographers also offer Christmas Specials where they stand in the snow and do snow sessions or hang out at a Christmas Tree farm and take photos for a lower rate so keep an eye out for that too!
PS: Bruce doesn’t love taking photos but he loves working with Ashlee because she puts everyone at ease and talks to us the whole time. Find someone that your family feels comfortable around and keep going back to them!
Work with What You Have
If you cannot book a photographer, set up a tripod and have some fun or ask a friend to come with you to take some photos. Any photo is better than no photo!
For tips on picking out your Christmas Cards, read this post on How to Choose your Christmas Cards.