Please tell me I’m not the only one who hasn’t taken our annual Christmas card photo yet? Ugh! Why can’t I ever be the organized mom who gets things done ahead of time in stead of always waiting until the last minute? If you’re like me and have no clue where to begin, here are a few of my best DIY Christmas card tips for you.
1. TIMING IS EVERYTHING. If you’re headed outdoors, pick a time where the light will work to your advantage. Either early morning or late in the afternoon about 2 hours before the sun sets. Make sure that you’re either placing your kids in the shade or the sun is at their back. It’s also important to choose a time when your kids are happiest. Avoid naptime and don’t cram a photo shoot into a day that’s already packed with sports and activities.
2. SHOOT FOR THE CARD. Browse through sites like Tiny Prints or Minted and choose a card you love. Then, set up a shot that coordinates with the card. Think about the colors on the card when you’re choosing outfits. Also, keep in mind the orientation of the images. If the card features horizontal shots, make sure yours are too. It won’t look good if you’re trying to put a vertical shot in a horizontal space.
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t go into the attic and pull out every single holiday decoration you have. If you want to include props, choose items that are classic like a teddy bear, a red wagon, an ornament, or even a festive blanket. Other fun things like a candy cane, fake snow, milk and cookies, or wooden letters work too. If you have little ones, giving them something hold might help keep them in one place for a few minutes. It’s also important to keep your background clear and uncluttered. Use a location without too many distractions. Steer clear of busy parks or streets lined with cars. The kids should be the focus!
4. START A TRADITION. Think of something that you can photograph the same way every year. If you vacation at the beach every summer, have the kids put on a Santa hat and sit in the sand. Maybe you visit the same tree farm every Christmas. Why not use that as your backdrop? Or perhaps you dress them your kids all in the same holiday pj’s. Make that the front of your card this year. Your family and friends will love seeing how your kids grow and change each year. And when you look back, you’ll remember those traditions as well. Capture a cherished family tradition/activity.
5. USE YOUR DSLR. Cell phone shots just won’t cut it this time of year. Don’t spend all that money on a card and then slap a low quality image on it. Using your digital camera will allow you to get better quality photos and also help make your subject stand out.
Bonus Tip – Go with the flow. Have a little fun and don’t take yourselves to seriously. If your kids refuse the wear the outfits you picked or someone is making a funny face, just go with it. I bet it’ll end up being your favorite card.
If you liked these tips and want to know more about how you can document the heart of the holiday season, keep an eye out for my new online course, “Capturing the Magic of Christmas.” It’s going to be filled with practical tips and festive ideas to help you celebrate the season with the people you love.