Whether you’re inclined toward a casual or glammed up version of yourself for your family’s holiday card, these two looks curated by Melissa Takes Fashion will set a festive note for the season. As a professional photographer who specializes in family portraits, I’ve seen it all and done it all! Take a peek here to see how The Huffington Post thinks I nailed one holiday photo, and then go celebrate your own holiday style with my 6 easy pro tips right here.
1. It all begins with the right outfit styling.
Search for seasonally appropriate attire that reflects your personality and the setting. Instead of being matchy-matchy, aim for a couple coordinating neutral colors, cozy knits, and warm textures like suede to lend a classic look for a casual photo shoot. Going glam and festive? Try holiday-ready shimmer, romantic lace, or a bright pop of color. For my own family holiday shoot last week – me being me – well, I had more than a few dresses up my sleeve! My selections were down to this bell sleeve dress, this tulle skirt, or this gold maxi dress. If you have kids, it’s easy to build their outfits around you and your partner’s!
2. Bring props to set a festive scene (also works as a distraction if you have kids to make the session fun!). A string of white lights, a basket of bright colored ornaments (non-breakable for the little ones), a faux fur blanket, the list of holiday options for couples or those with kiddos are endless. Look at what’s naturally around you. Is there a pine cone or a big pile of snow?
Are you the official “mom-ographer” for your family? Then read on for some extra tips on capturing the “magic shot” and printing the final product.
3. Ask questions that evoke emotion while you are shooting. Once you’ve got the perfect outfits squared away, when working with your kids, ask things like, “What do you love about Dadda?” “What’s the funniest trick Fluffy does for you?” Or if shooting a child alone, say something silly like, “Would you ever eat a marshmallow and turkey sandwich?” As they answer and giggle, snap away.
4. It’s okay to “fake” a candid moment. Tell your kids what you want them to do to stage the moment. For example, you could ask them to line up some pine cones, peek around a tree at you, show you how they hug their brother or sister, do a twirl, or how good they can skip.
5. Choose a unique angle to tell the story. I always ask myself before taking a photo, “How can I elevate this beyond just a snapshot look?” Sometimes just by changing your position, a photo can take on a whole new look and feel. Get down low at ground level, shoot from above, or pull back a bit to capture the surrounding environment.
6. Choose a full-bleed photo design layout. I prefer those layouts that use full-bleed photos instead of collages to get the maximum impact of your awesome family photos. Make sure to use a quality printing service (I use WHCC which is for professional photography businesses, but many typical consumers like Minted and Tinyprints.)
For more family holiday photo inspiration and tips, see this post on my photography website.