With weather turning more fall like, most families are starting to think about the fun- but sometimes stressful- process of taking photos for family holiday cards. I’m a bit of a rebel and every year, I choose to not take professional photographs and go for photos that instead show our family in candid moments, or parts of our personalities.
Just because you take your own snaps doesn’t mean they can’t look like a photographer took them! I’m really excited to share my top tips for family photographs that are happy, relaxed and let your family’s personality shine through.
This year, I opted for fun candid shots of my kids for our cards. We didn’t have any fancy setups- I just asked my kids to pick out their favorite clothes and make some fun faces in our yard. Since a lot of our family lives far away, I wanted to show off my kids growing personalities- because they are full of their own spunk!
Tiny Prints is amazingly on-trend this season with five fun new themes: Winter Botanicals, Delicate Frost, Mixed Metals, Black, White and Bold, and Modern Merry. All of the themes have a great mix of cards for multiple photos or just one photo- and cards that work for formal portraits or laid back candid family snaps- and many come with numerous color choices so you don’t have to worry too much about outfits not matching the color scheme of your cards.
Let me tell you- it is hard to choose a theme to go with. I love how visually inspiring Tiny Prints collection is- and their sample photographs are stunning. There was a nice display of formal family portraits- but I LOVE that they are starting to trend towards fun, natural shots that show a family’s personality- and designing cards that are laid back, bold, and expressive.
I chose the Woodsy Merriment from the Winter Botanicals line, and put our own little spin on this adorable rounded corner card that looks a bit like a chalkboard with beautiful winter greenery. I also opted for a pop of color with some gorgeous chevron envelope liners! Tiny Prints makes it easy- slide the liners into an envelope and peel back a strip to expose an adhesive strip. Adhere to envelope, and you have a stylish envelope!
We also added on some beautiful return address labels for an extra pop on the outside of the envelope. I like how this card stands out!
I like to get a feel for the cards I love before setting up photographs, because I think it helps me pick out a tone. Am I going for formal or relaxed, candid or posed? Once you have a general idea of the type of card you’d like to send, I have tips for making your cards the best yet:
-Wear comfortable clothing. While matching outfits and coordinating are traditional options, consider comfort. For most people, taking photographs is not the most fun part of the day- wearing clothes that are comfortable, form fitting and reflect each family member’s personality help their individuality shine through.
– Put a Pez Dispenser on your camera. If you have kids, it’s a great way to get them to look right at the camera! You could also have a stuffed animal perched atop your camera, or some other toy. It will help them focus!
-Take photos in the morning. Not only is morning light (before it is too sunny) the most flattering, it helps to get photos out of the way. Kids won’t be as distracted, cranky, or ready for naps.
–Let personalities shine. This year, my cards have two photos on them: one of each kid. I have my son making a silly exaggerated face, because that is SO him. He’s always telling dramatic stories, loudly singing songs, or performing in some way. My daughter is making a sweet smile in one of her favorite outfits (that she would wear nonstop if I let her): her Broncos cheerleader dress. It is in no way traditional, but it is SO them. Since these cards are for family far away, I wanted shots that show my kids as they are every day- and these make me smile so much.
-Buy a Remote Control and Tripod- if you are taking photographs of your family yourself, it helps to have a tripod and a remote control that will allow you to press a button and get the camera to go off at the exact right moment!
– Fill Your Frame (I like to chant this in my head when I take pictures- it just means fill the shot with your subject. Get up close and make your kid the main focus of your shot!)
–Focus on the Eyes – if you know how to set your focus point, set it on your kids’ eyes. If the eyes are in focus, your picture will look great! You want crisp, clear photos of the eyes… the rest will fall into place.
–Don’t cut off Body Parts – this one is hard, but if you take the time to move your camera around to get a picture, it really pays off. You want to avoid making it look like someone is missing an arm because it is tucked behind their back. Try to avoid cutting off legs in a shot under the thigh, or cutting arms off below the elbow- because it just looks distracting. I often try to just cut the body off at the chest, the waist, or the thigh- or get the whole body in the picture. It’s not always possible, but doesn’t take a whole lot of work to move yourself around to try.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you to not only get out there and make some great memories….but to CAPTURE them BEAUTIFULLY as well!