Ahhhh, the annual family holiday card photo. Stress much?! Lol. I don’t know about you but I started doing a family holiday card after I had my first daughter. It’s always stressful yet I make my family take one every year. We’ve had various incarnations of it – front yard, backyard, local park, inside the house, etc. I continue to do it every year because it’s the one time I’m truly able to get a decent photo of all of us together (Trust me, I take a lot of pictures throughout the year!). If you’re like me and the idea of coordinating outfits for everyone is stress enough. Then, you throw in the photographer’s idea of getting the light right, the timing of the day, hoping everyone cooperates enough and then finding the right location and it’s almost likely to be a clusterf**k. A few times the photo shoot has fallen apart fast because my girls were too tired. In recent years I’ve tried to tone the stress down. Here are my few tips:
- I know the photographer usually picks the location. But if you know it isn’t ideal for your family, offer some suggestions and see if you can compromise to find one that works for both of you. And if you really think there is only one place that will work for your family, then the photographer should be willing to work with you or I’d say, find another photographer.
- It’s great if all the family outfits are coordinated around a color palette but again, if one family member really isn’t likely to want to wear what you want them to, then try to work with their style and try to make the other family members outfits work with it.
- Ideally, start with your outfit first. You have to start somewhere so I think starting with yourself is easiest. Once you’re set, it will help you envision what everyone else could wear. It also helps to take a few pieces from everyone’s closet and bring them into one place and play around with the various options.
- Don’t stress too much running around town trying to find new pieces of clothing just for the photos. It’s almost a guarantee that the kids won’t want to wear them. Unless it’s a sparkly dress. Maybe.
- Try to gear your kids up for the fact that the photo taking will be fun and do it in whatever way you can think of. And start a few days ahead of time. Maybe even plan something fun to do after or before, depending on the time of the day you’re taking the photos, in order to get them excited about it.
- Be realistic. If it seems like the photo session is falling apart because kids won’t sit still or are whining, then it’s time to throw in the towel. They are unlikely to recover. Cross your fingers your photographer was able to capture at least 1 decent photo you can work with before it all went downhill. 🙂
- Don’t feel bad if you have to resort to bribing. Oldest parent trick in the book, right?
Assuming you all survived the photo session, next up is deciding on which photo(s) to use on the holiday card. My favorite places to look for a holiday card is on the sites Tiny Prints and Shutterfly*. They each offer great options of varying styles, photo quantity options, lay outs, and even trim options at various prices. If you haven’t ordered your card yet, don’t worry, there’s still time and great promotions going on. I’ll be posting the various promotions and coupon codes as the sales start.
With all that being said, here are a few behind the scenes photos from our recent session with photographer Ashley from Ashley Bara Photography (find her here on Facebook). It was REALLY cold out (lucky us!) so in between moving around to various spots in a local park to take the photos, we had to put on our coats (and hat) to stay warm. Lesson for me: Take pictures earlier next year. Ha! Despite the cold temps, she was able to capture some great moments and that’s all that mattered. 🙂
Hope this helps you set up your family for their best photos yet with little amounts of stress. Happy picture taking!
* I am an affiliate of both of these sites. That means by clicking on the link and making a purchase on the site, I earn a commission on the purchase.