It’s difficult to capture a moment in time, but that’s exactly what most families aim to do when they schedule holiday photo shoots. Unfortunately, stuffing the kids into uncomfortable outfits and forcing them to smile in front of a faux fire backdrop hardly implies authenticity. And your holiday photos can end up looking awkward and unattractive as a result, even if you’ve shelled out a lot of dough for a professional photographer. That said, there are steps you can take to get better family photos every year. Here are a few tips to try at your next photo session.
- Find a photographer. Sure you can head to the photo studio at Sears or Walmart for passable pics to place in your holiday cards. But you’ll likely get better results by selecting a professional photography studio instead. You’ll want to ask family and friends for referrals, as well as going online to look at galleries full of sample work. From there you can meet with photographers you admire in order to determine which one you’d like to work with. Make sure to ask plenty of questions (have they worked with kids? do they offer location shoots? what are their package and pricing options) and you’ll find the right professional for your family photos.
- Scout locations. When the weather outside is frightful, as it can be during the holidays, you might be keen to keep your session confined to the studio. But if you’re not interested in the contrivance of backdrops, props, and bright lighting, you may also want to consider having your family photo shoot at home, selecting special locations, or heading outdoors to get some candid snapshots of your family enjoying the season and each other’s company.
- Consider wardrobe. You can mandate formal wear, subject everyone to holiday sweaters, or even wear Santa hats or reindeer antlers. But you’re bound to end up with photos that go straight in a drawer if you opt for gimmicks or a wardrobe that’s too matchy or stiff. Instead, think about going for a casual-dressy vibe or selecting a color family for tops (white, black, or seasonal hues, for example). This will give your family a cohesive look without the creepy vibe.
- Get kids on board. Your children may not be on board with participating in the holiday family photo session. But if you let them have a say in where the photos are taken, what is worn, and the poses you strike, they’re bound to have a lot more fun (and it will show in the end product). After all, they’re part of the family and they should have some input and be allowed a measure of creative freedom, at least with what they’re wearing.
- Look your best. You obviously want your family photos to exhibit the best version of your family, so take the time to schedule haircuts a couple weeks out and even facials (for adults and teens) a few days before your session. And keep in mind: the professionals at studios can give you tips on how to look your best. So don’t hesitate to call ahead for advice.