The holidays are right around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about your yearly holiday card photos. Whether you decide to use a professional photographer or take the photos yourself, there are some tried-and-true methods for photo styling and preparing your family to take these important photos. If you follow these five tips, your holiday cards are sure to turn out great.
- Use a seasonal or neutral backdrop
You’re not limited to a boring background for your family photos. The only rule of thumb is to make sure the background you choose won’t distract from the main focus: your family. Other than that, feel free to get creative. Tree farms, snowy fields, or parks make great locations. If you’ve hired a photographer for the occasion, he or she probably has some excellent ideas for a background and can take care of planning ahead or asking permission.
- Consistent lighting is key
Whether you use natural lighting indoors or want to take your photos outside, it’s important to have consistent lighting out of the direct sun. You may not like the look of an overcast day, but that lighting usually translates better in photos. And if you had your heart set on a blue sky, you can always use professional photo retouching services afterward to add or take out any elements you dislike. You’ll also be able to use color correction services to fix any weird tonal elements. Above all, the subjects have to look good. As long as your family’s faces are lit well, little things can be changed later on.
- Tell a story
To avoid ending up with run-of-the-mill family portraits, be sure to let your personalities shine! Tell a story with your photos with props or unconventional angles. Whether you want to recreate an old photo or highlight a fun memory or passion you all share, your holiday pictures are a great way to communicate what your family is all about. If your family has gone through a big change in the last year — a move, a new addition, a milestone — you might want to consider using that as inspiration for your shoot. You can work with your photographer or ask creative friends for ideas, too.
- Choose clothing carefully
In the past, family portraits involved highly coordinated clothing choices. Nowadays, things are a bit less stringent. That being said, you still need to consider your clothing choices carefully. Think about the background you’ve chosen and the card design you’ll be using. If you’ve gone for more simple stylistic elements, you can go bold with clothing choices. If you’ve opted for a busy design or colorful background, create neutral contrast with the clothes. The clothing each family member wears should reflect his or her personality and style without detracting from anyone else. Little pops of color, textures, or neutral patterns usually translate well.
- Edit thoughtfully
If you’ve encountered some funky lighting or aren’t pleased with the direct-from-camera results, don’t stress. This happens much more often than you might think. The good news is that there are professional portrait photo editing companies that offer color correction services and photo cropping, which can allow you to take your photos to the next level. Color correction services can make a drastic difference if you notice the hue or overall mood of the photo is off. Professional photo editing services often include airbrushing blemishes, wrinkles, flyaways, or other small imperfections. If you use a Photoshop service, you can even add cool effects like sun glare or Bokeh, which optimize visual interest. However, be careful not to do too much editing. Everyone in the photo should still look like themselves when the editing is done, and the editing should not be obvious to the untrained eye. Be sure to research your options for color correction services and other professional Photoshop services to ensure that your end product looks like how you envisioned.
Don’t be stuck with photos that don’t convey how truly amazing your family is. If you use these tips, your seasonal family photos are sure to look great — and you can create awesome new memories during your shoot that will be preserved forever.