Family Christmas Photo Ideas: Tips To Make Your Pictures Fun & Easy

Sometimes you just need some Christmas photo ideas to make something that can be fun, and a wonderful memory, not seem like such a big undertaking.

Hopefully you'll be inspired to make some memories with your family that will last for generations to come with these tips this holiday season.

family Christmas photo ideas and tips

It’s that time of year that people start thinking about holiday pictures to commemorate another year passing or for their annual Christmas cards.

Whether you choose to get photos taken by a professional, have a friend take a few, or do it yourself, there are some things to keep in mind to get the best pictures possible.

Clothing: Considerations For What To Wear

What type of pictures are you going for? Casual or traditional? Outdoors, your home or staged in front of a backdrop?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make sure your attire is appropriate for the setting so that it doesn’t look misplaced.

In addition, if you are planning to use this as part of your holiday card having an idea of the cards you want to send out will also help narrow your color choices.

You may be inclined to wear bright red and Kelly green for the 4th year in a row but do you want your family picture on the wall to constantly bring in an element of the holidays year round?

Think about other seasonal combinations – gold, burgundy, navy, silver and classic black and white.

Or think outside the season entirely with a favorite color combination or a favorite shirt to base the clothing on, but make sure that everyone is wearing coordinating colors.

Leave big, bold patterns at home as they can dominate a picture, taking the focus away from the people present.

These days holiday cards come in a wide variety of colors, so straying from the more seasonally traditional color combinations is perfectly appropriate.

I've even seen families just use a photo from a summer vacation for their card, and you know what, I still love it, because I love the picture and the people in it!

Location: Choose Somewhere Special For Your Family

If you decide not to use a studio with their backdrops readily available, you’ll need to figure out where you want your pictures to be taken.

In fact, these days I really would prefer, when I receive a card with a family Christmas photo to see a more natural location instead of studio shots. I think a lot of people feel this way. It makes the composition of the photo more interesting, and it is simpler and cheaper than paying a professional anyway, so it's perfect!

If you're struggling to figure out where to take your picture, consider these ideas.

Are there any local parks that hold particular significance for your family? Are you near the ocean and have a favorite sandy beach? Any well-known landmarks nearby? Is there a clearing in the woods? Even your own home can be used as a stage for family pictures.

Refrain from taking pictures with windows or the mantle behind you as they can reflect light and throw off the balance of the picture.

But don't be afraid to go casual. For example, a picture of everyone wearing pjs laying in bed together makes a relaxed, casual composition, is original, and reflects real life. What's not to love?

Time of Day: Important For Lighting & For Kids, Also For Good Mooods

Something often not considered, but that should be when planning your family Christmas photos is what time of day you're going to take them.

This is important to consider especially if you're taking pictures outside, in natural light. It is also important though to think about when most of your family members are at their best.

Late afternoon light in the fall is a particularly lovely time for outdoor pictures. There is a golden hue that warms up pictures and shadows are easy to work with.

Avoid taking pictures when the sun is high in the sky and faces are often in shadows.

In addition, light is harsher. If you are early risers, early morning light also works well as shadows are cooperative.

Even if you don't take the photos outside time can be an important factor. For example, do you have kids that still take naps? If so, then first thing in the morning or after naptime are some of the best times.

Don’t wait until half an hour before naptime to do pictures if you can help it as tears will fall more easily, and nothing ruins a family photo faster then a cranky or uncooperative child.

Make sure you reward your kiddos for their cooperation and smiles!

Poses: Practical Tips & Ideas

Take multiple pictures, even though people in your group may grumble and just want it over.

After the initial 15 minutes or so of being nervous in front of the camera, family members will start to relax and the shots will become more genuine.

When grouping people together try to get heads about the same height.

Keep poses natural – sitting on the ground together, standing in a doorway, parents holding kids’ hands, laying on the ground. Let kids be kids.

Create a list of different groupings that are a must have for you: mom and dad, mom and kids, dad and kids, kids by themselves, etc.

This will help solve confusion on the day of the shoot and will help ensure you have the different pictures you want.

If you have a Christmas card style in mind already, you’ll know the layout of the pictures and the different sizes for picture placement.

If the main picture is vertical, you’ll want to make sure your photographer takes some shots of your group that work well in a vertical frame.

If you're not sure what card you'll be choosing yet, try to make sure you take photos in both horizontal and vertical. In addition, while you can crop wider shots multiple ways tighter shots don't lend themselves to as easy cropping.

Therefore, make sure to take both close up but also wider shots, since you can always crop and make it closer up later and with today's digital cameras this doesn't result in too much loss of quality or graininess like it did years ago.

I Recommend Tiny Prints For Christmas Photo Cards

Tiny Prints Holiday Card Collection

There are a lot of places out there to buy holiday photo cards but one of my favorites is Tiny Prints. They have high quality, the site is easy to use, there's quick turn around time, and they offer a variety of styles.

The paper is rich and high quality, and the colors are true in the printing. I've found that they look as good as you had hoped when you were placing your pictures in the design feature on their website.

Tiny Prints also has a wide variety of styles to choose from. Flat cards, folded, square, 5x7, 4x9, circular ornaments or tri-fold, and more. You have many choices for sizes.

Most styles are available in three or four different sizes, allowing for more flexibility within each card style.

There are also classic colors, fonts, and designs as well as more modern and colorful cards. There is surely something to fit your family.

The number of pictures on the cards also varies. From a single large image to 6 or even 9 photos, there are many options for showcasing your family (and possible activities for the year).

You can show a single image of the family from a recent photo shoot or outing or you can do a collage of your favorite pictures throughout the year, sharing with everyone your yearly adventures.

Timeline For Getting Your Family Christmas Photos Done In Time

You’ll want to get your pictures done early in the fall so that you have time for the photographer to get them back to you and then for you to pick out, design and order your holiday cards.

(If you're following along with the Stress Free Holidays Challenge you know that I suggest taking your family Christmas photos in Week #2 of the Challenge, or the couple of weeks following it, so early in the month of October.)

It can take anywhere from a week to a month to get your photos back if you had them professionally taken.

If you take them yourself or have a friend do them, you may want to do some editing to make sure the lighting is right or cropping to get a better layout, and need to keep the time necessary to do that in mind.

Once your photos are ready it doesn't take too much longer to actually just sit down and order them from the site you choose, and the sooner you order them the better because we all know how time runs away from us during the holidays.

Don’t wait until the last couple days before Christmas to do your holiday cards. While Tiny Prints can get them to you in time for the holidays, I think this year the deadline is December 15th for ordering, it will be one more thing on your list of things you need to do as you are preparing for parties, shopping for gifts and baking.

To help cut down on holiday stress try to order your pictures before Thanksgiving so that you can order them before the mad rush begins and you can address them in a more relaxed manner.

If you do wait until the last minute though, Tiny Prints can usually get an order back to you within a week of placing your order. It just becomes more of an ordeal to fill them all out and get them mailed off, and that's not as much fun!

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission which helps me provide this information to you for free, plus support my family. My integrity and your satisfaction are very important to me so I only recommend products I would purchase myself, and that I believe would benefit you. To learn more please see my disclosure statement.

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