Photo Tips for Holiday Cards


For some families, a Christmas card photo is the only family picture they take every year. Getting the picture perfect holiday cards can be a chore. Here are a few helpful tips to ensure you get a great photo for your holiday cards.

Select a Good Quality Photo

The point of sending a family photo in your holiday card is so your friends and relatives can see you and your family. If you use a tiny, blurry, grainy, or poor quality photo, no one will see you clearly. Make sure to take and select a high quality photo for your family Christmas card.

Quantity to Get Quality

Pro photographers know how to handle lighting, posing, and cranky kids. They can snap a small handful of photos and have beautiful options for you. However, if you’re doing it yourself, the more pictures you take, the better the chance you’ll have good photos. Don’t be stuck debating between the photo that’s perfect except for Timmy’s closed eyes or the one that’s perfect if Jimmy wasn’t picking his nose.

Use Good Lighting

When it comes to photos, good lighting is key. The light source needs to be behind the photographer (or the camera, if you’re using a remote shutter to do it yourself). If you’re taking photos outdoors, avoid midday when the sun is at its highest and harshest point in the sky. That type of lighting is flattering to no one. Instead, aim for early in the day (an ideal time for small kids who may get cranky as the day goes on) or late afternoon. Avoid red eye by having everyone look at a light source just before the picture is taken. This shrinks down the size of their pupils, reducing the chances of red eye.

Basic is Best

It’s tempting to get everyone to wear matching outfits and create a themed background for the perfect picture. However, it’s a better idea is to keep it simple and basic. The background should only serve to highlight your stunning family. Aim for something that focuses on the group and is flattering to the entire family. Take photos in front of the fireplace or even your front porch swing. Dress everyone in coordinating colors – this means colors that go well together, not all the same color. Avoid white; it will make you look larger whatever your size.

Remember the Rule of Thirds

It’s tempting to center the family in the middle of the photo, but that’s actually wrong. Even though some photographers take those type of photos, use the rule of thirds, when taking pictures.
Imagine your camera’s screen with a grid, dividing the screen into nine equal squares. The lines that define the squares are where you want the people to be. This will improve the composition of any photo, not just photos with people in them. By following the rule of thirds, you leave a natural space for the holiday greeting in your photo card.

Pick a Card, Any Card

When you’re preparing for a photo holiday card, choosing your card first can actually be a critical step. Your card choice may require a landscape orientation instead of a portrait. By choosing your card first, you can make sure that you take the photo that fits, rather than trying to force the photo to fit.
This also lets you to know the colors and other details about your card so you can figure what type of photo would look best with it. An elegant card needs an elegant photo, but a fun, cute card deserves a fun, cute photo to match.

Patience Please

Taking family photos almost never goes smoothly. Someone cries or whines. The camera battery dies. Someone spills something and forces a full wardrobe change on everyone. It could even rain or snow outside or be so hot inside that everyone’s sweating.
Whatever happens, remind yourself that as frustrating as it is in the moment, this will be a cherished family memory, someday. Laugh it off, keep your cool, smile and don’t give up. You’ll get that perfect photo if you just stick with it.

A family photo, whether on the front of a holiday card or tucked inside, is a sweet little gift that your friends and family will treasure every year. More than that, you’ll treasure them when your kids are grown. Even if you follow all of these tips, you may still find that the perfect image in your mind never manifests on the card. Remember sometimes the perfect image is the one that’s imperfect and those imperfections are exactly what makes your card beautiful and priceless.

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