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Holiday Card Photo Shoot Tips

Ever get your friend’s Christmas card and wonder how the hell they got their kids to smile, all together, in the same pic, without stains on their shirts or collars messed up, or hair in their face, and if you’re in the picture, you also look good? Well, I have. I asked my friend who has 6 kids, works full time and always looks fabulous once how she did it and she said she threatens her kids that Christmas won’t happen. I think my little guys are still too young to understand those ramifications, but I will definitely be trying that in the near future.

So in the meantime, you know what I do? I go with the photo journalist approach. Yeah, that’s right. It sounds professional and purposeful, but really, it just means I couldn’t get everyone to look normal in one picture. And it also makes me look artsy, which-come on, I am.

Here’s how you do it:

You take action shots as much as you can. These need to be well planned and thought out. Find a good background. A kid will look a hell of a lot cuter playing at the park when a gorgeous ocean or bridge or mountain is behind him.

Make sure even if your kids are playing in the dirt, they’re dressed impeccably. You’re not like other moms, you’re the cool mom whose kids wear Ralph Lauren button downs and corduroy blazers while trekking through the mud. Trust me-just oxy those stains. Your cards will thank you.

You edit that shit. What a difference a filter can make on a photo. I’m no photo editing expert, so programs like Photoshop and even Pixlr can intimidate me. The past couple years I’ve used Be Funky (free photo editor I found on Google). I just apply a filter and BAM, my photo just got 100 times prettier. Sometimes I get a little crazy and crop too, but you can usually zoom in/shift around your photo on the card tool you’re using, so I rarely do that.

I’m practical. I don’t spend a ton of money on my cards, but I also don’t cheap out. After I spend half a day trying to get the perfect photo, I’m not going to put it on some cheap paper and make it look like I printed it on photo paper at Walmart. No offense, Walmart. My go-to site past years has been Simply to impress. It’s got cool styles comparable to some other sites that charge a hell of a lot more. You can usually get a promo code on/around Thanksgiving that is decent too. So basically, be smart, not cheap.

So here are a few shots I’m using in our holiday cards this year. Now that you know my secrets, shh-don’t tell. Just use them and gleam with pride as you seal each envelope with your gorgeous art of a family. Photo credit: our fabulous au pair, Ange.

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