Tis the season for family holiday photos! With just 6 weeks until Christmas (what??!), it is time to get festive and start knocking out all the things to do before the big day. One of our favorite things to do during the holidays is to have a family photoshoot and send out Christmas cards to our family and friends. I love receiving them even more!
We order our cards from Tiny Prints because we find that they have the best quality cards and the cutest designs. Their designs are modern and you can customize them to your style. We have been ordering our cards from them for years now and not just for Christmas. We have ordered birthday invitations, baptism invitations and baby announcements as well.
For those who have not yet taken your family holiday photos, Rowell and I came up with 10 steps for a successful photoshoot with kids:
- Decide on a theme
Pinterest is great for this because its chalk full of ideas that will inspire you or help spark your own ideas. Last year we did a “Winter Wonderland” theme. This year we decided to do something a little different. Our theme this year is a “West Coast Christmas” where its not too cold (no snow), but we are surrounded by mountains and water.
- Scout locations
You will need to find a location that will be best suitable for your theme. For example, for our winter wonderland theme, we drove up to Lake Tahoe where there was lots of snow. We actually didn’t have a specific location in mind and found an area with a large patch of snow. We pulled over, set up the trip-pod and started snapping pics.
- Get the right equipment (lens, tripod, charge batteries)
What kind of look do you want the photo to have? A longer lens will get you a nice tight shot with a blurred background. Or do you want to incorporate the surrounding environment in the photo, if so you will need a wider lens. Tripods are great for capturing a family photo and will keep the image sharp by keeping the camera still. Have extra batteries available just in case you need to shoot longer or forget to charge your primary set of batteries.
- Put together outfits
It is important to put some thought into your attire for the pictures. While I don’t think its super important to all be matching, the clothing does have to match the theme somewhat. It definitely adds to the appeal if your clothing goes with the scenery and theme of the photos.
- Schedule photoshoot in the morning (sunrise) or during golden hour (sunset)
The best time to take photos is near sunrise or near sunset. These two times offer the best type of light. Sunset give you that golden look everyone wants in their photos. About 2-3 hours before sunset is a good time and about 1 hour after sunrise is great too. Sunrise gives a nice warm light and plus everyone will be fresh for photos. Avoid taking photos midday because the light casts unflattering shadows on people and cause “raccoon eyes”. A bonus is to take photos on a cloudy day. The clouds act as a soft box spreading the light everywhere.
- Make sure kids are well rested and have had their naps
Want to make sure your kids aren’t having complete meltdowns during the photoshoot? Make sure they are well rested and have had their naps and had a good nights sleep. You’ll have to schedule the photo shoot around their schedule. If they are best in the morning, then shoot at sunrise. If they are best after their afternoon naps then I suggest you plan for a shoot during golden hour.
- Make sure kids are not hungry
The last thing you need while you are trying to get the perfect shot is for your kids to get hungry and their clothes getting dirty from eating! They need to eat before putting on their good clothes. What we did with Emilia was put her in a onesie on the way to the location and changed her into her “good” clothes when we got there.
- Pack an extra set of clothes
This is especially important for those who have little ones. Emilia had a major blowout on the way to the location! Nuff said!
- Let the kids be natural and shoot a lot of candids
You will get the best shots if you let the kids do their thing and you’re just snapping away. You will be surprised at how many great shots you will get if you just let them be natural. I find that the best photos are the candid ones that showcase their true personality and real life. When it comes time for the family photo, again its ok if they’re not all looking. I actually think its cute if the kids are looking at each other or have a certain facial expression. It adds personality to the photo.
- Have fun!
Please don’t take this too seriously. Family photos is meant to be a fun activity. One that you will look fondly on as years go by so try not to stress too much over it. I find that we take the best pictures as a family when we are just being silly and having fun.
I hope you found this helpful.
Where will you and your family be taking your holiday photos this year? Let me know in the comment section below!