We love sending out family Christmas cards every year – we make cards with photos on the outside AND inside! The hard part, other than being organized enough to then send them out, is getting a family photo for the front! This has gotten tougher with each new addition to our family, but I’m happy to have some fun options for this year’s card!
Here are my best tips for a great family photo:
Use a photographer you feel comfortable with
We have actually done a lot of self-timer photos, but with four kids it hasn’t worked out very well. This year, I set up my DSLR camera on a tripod, got the settings where I wanted them, and my sister in law took the pictures. She isn’t a photographer, but she has a great eye and we all adore her. She took the first two pictures in this post!
Get the kids to smile, instead of telling them to
For the photo below, my brother and nephew goofed off behind M’s head, which got us some fantastic genuine smiles from the kids! If you don’t have a spare person who can goof off for you, I find that kids find small toys posed in funky ways on the camera pretty funny! Kids also think that making silly noises is funny, and, if all else fails, a little slapstick humor (fall down “on accident”) works wonders.
Don’t get caught up in the details
The photo below is not my idea of a great family picture! We were well-coordinated outfit-wise (better, in my opinion, than for the photos above), and the background was lovely, but I was trying to take a timer photo (push the button and then run and get in the shot). And, most importantly, the girls were cold and Johnny was grumpy. If people aren’t feeling comfortable, you won’t get a happy photo!
Salvage a shoot where you can
As miserable as the above photo shoot was, I took this spur-of-the-moment picture of Emma. We both love it!
Capture unguarded moments
I adore this picture of Mike and Lily, captured as we were headed home from our successful shoot. You pretty much have to pose at least a little to get six faces turned towards a camera, but candid photos are always my favorite.
Time it right
Make sure kids are rested and have eaten a decent meal, and make sure they are dressed appropriately – not too hot or too cold! Our successful shoot happened at that magical time of day when the sun has just dropped below the horizon – there is still enough light for photos, not too bright for sensitive eyes, and with sunset’s warm glow!
What are your top tips for taking great family photos?