Take the Perfect Holiday Card Photo
Real advice on how to create the photo card you want
So let me tell you a secret… there is no such thing as the perfect holiday card photo! It is all in your imagination, but the paralysis this idea can cause is all too real.
Don’t let the lack of a “good enough” photo prevent you from sending out cards.
The most important question to consider is what feeling do you want your photo to convey.
The excitement, joy, happiness, and wonder of the season, something humorous, something about where you live, your child’s personality, their relationships with one another if you have more than one child, a reflection on the year?
What do you want your card to communicate to your friends and family?Â
Once you are clear on this, you can try capturing it in different ways.
Here are some tips for capturing the best photo you can for your holiday card:
1) Your kids don’t all have to be in the same photo.
Sibling photos are often a challenge. While it is pretty much a bare minimum that you include all your kids on your card, if you can’t get them all in one photo, it’s totally OK to use several photos, one of each or different combos. Â And there are many card designs that will make this work well.
2) Grown-ups are optional.
You don’t have to be on the front of your card if you don’t want to be. One way to include the grown-ups is to include them in smaller photos inside the card or on the back. Â Many card designs will allow for this.
3) A seasonal theme is optional.
This is totally up to you but don’t feel a holiday themed photo is required.Â The design of your card, rather than the photo, can be seasonal if you like.
4) Capture natural emotions.Â
Friends and relatives will appreciate natural emotions in a photo rather than fake, forced grins for the camera. Don’t ask your kids to smile and say cheese. Instead, try to get them to smile or laugh naturally by telling them jokes, tickling them, telling them NOT to smile… whatever it takes other than a direct request!
5) Watch for background clutter.
Unless your background clutter is meant to be part of the photo, take the time to check and remove anything distracting that might be in the background, or reposition so that you can no longer see it.
6) Get down low… or up high.
An unusual perspective can make for a striking and different photo.
7) Look for natural light if possible but not direct sunlight.
Photographing outdoors in the shade or on a cloudy day will give you the best results (direct sunlight is too harsh and will give you squinty eyes and unflattering shadows). If you are indoors, try to get near a window.
8) Give yourself plenty of time.
If you’re stressed out about taking the photo, your kids will pick up on it. So give yourself plenty of time for your “shoot” but also for retries. Â This is why now is the perfect time to start! This is also why I suggested last week that you pick a photo you already have first so you know you have a fallback. This will take some of the pressure off as well.
Next week I’ll talk about picking a holiday card vendor and design.
In the meantime, make sure you download my free holiday card workbook that breaks this project down to easy steps with helpful tips along the way. I even include a schedule to keep you on track and an exclusive Minted discount code to make creating your holiday cards even easier!
Alethea Cheng Fitzpatrick is a family photographer and photography coach for parents with Photosanity. A former architect and interior designer, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her two boys Liam, age six, and Jack, age three.
Alethea is on a mission to help parents more fully experience the precious fleeting moments of their children’s lives through photography. Find her on http://photosanity.com