7 Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Family During the Holidays

| 5 min read

Did you know that 50 percent of consumers post more pictures on social media during the holidays than during the rest of the year? And that’s according to a Samsung Electronics survey from 2017, you can only imagine how many more consumers are posting today in 2022!

I’m not only a Photographer and Business Owner, but I’m also a daughter, an aunt, a cousin & a friend.  For me the holiday season provides many opportunities to unplug from the busy day-to-day of business life and refuel the heart by spending time with those I love.

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a family photo! When I was younger my family would gather around the Christmas tree to take a photo.  Our family had an artificial tree, so luckily, we didn’t experience any surprise critters jumping out of the tree, like the squirrel in the Christmas movie classic National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, ohh the chaos that ensues when that squirrel jumped out of the tree haha!

If you're resistant to taking photos, or if it is always super stressful, just remember there is a reason why we take these photos. Because photography is capturing a moment in time that will not happen again, such as this unique moment when all the family can be together for the holidays.  A moment in time that years down the road we can look back on with other extended family members and future generations, and reminisce “Oh, here we were together at Christmas.”

Family portraits capture a unique moment in your family’s time, and that’s why these photos matter so much.

Here are some tips to ensure everyone has a good time and you get the photos you are hoping for this year:

1. Prep Your Family

Not everyone in your family has necessarily been involved in a planned photo before, so it helps to prepare them. You will, once again, need to find that balance between keeping it light-hearted and ensuring they know what to expect. Tell them more about the activities you have planned and what they should and shouldn’t wear. Your outfits don’t need to match but they should ideally be coordinated. Knowing a bit about what to expect can help participants feel more relaxed.

2. Make It Fun

When a family photo doesn’t come across as too serious, more family members are willing to participate. Make the day about having fun and spending time together, not capturing the perfect photos. Plus, photos are easy to fit into the day if you approach it correctly. Does the family always drink cocoa around the tree? Get everyone to pose for a quick group shot before you sit down. Better yet, capture a candid shot of everyone sitting around the tree instead.  Capturing a candid moment can be a lovely memory to look back and reflect on years later.

3. Respect People’s Wishes

Sometimes, people just don’t want their photo taken. It’s important to respect this if you want to maintain peace during the holiday season.

4. Choose Your Location Wisely

Your family should feel comfortable during any photo session, so choose your location wisely. If you won’t be taking photos at home, choose a location that will allow everyone to stay engaged and relaxed. Consider the lighting when choosing a location for your family photo as this can make a big difference to the end result.

5. Let Everyone Be Themselves

Maybe your sister always makes faces in photos. Maybe your father-in-law likes to wear the same silly Holiday themed sweater each year. Your family photos should highlight everyone’s unique personalities. Remember, you are not working with models, so temper your expectations. Allowing everyone to be themselves results in genuine images. Which is the goal of the image anyhow, to capture this moment in time.

6. Get Them Involved

One way to get family members excited about a planned photo is to get them involved in the creative process. Let them have a say in where you take photos and what you should wear. When it becomes a group effort, it feels less forced.

7. Include Everyone

Nobody wants to feel left out, so you may want to plan your images out in advance. Taking a photo of grandma and all the grandchildren? Don’t forget to take the same image with grandpa. It’s especially important that all children feel like they were equally included to avoid issues after.

Bonus Tip, take a headshot too!

If you hired a professional photographer to take your family photos, the holidays can be a great time to take an updated headshot portrait too, because you’ve likely dressed up for the family session already. Just make sure you have a neutral background and attire, without seasonally specific clothing or decorations. Your business portrait shouldn’t have a Christmas tree sticking out from behind your head, well unless perhaps you are Santa ;)

So why am I, a branding photographer and business visibility strategist talking about family holiday photos?

There’s actually a huge connection between the picture you take this holiday and your business.

The above tips can be used regardless of whether you are hiring a professional photographer, or using your smartphone or DSLR to capture some photos.

While the holidays are a great time to turn off your business brain and just be present with your family, I’d like you to remember that whatever you do in your life, imagery is there, whether it’s directly connected to your business or a family moment.

If you’re a business owner and you’re only thinking about photography as it relates to your headshot, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to connect with your followers. For example, a lot of business owners won't want to post their family photo online and say, here's my family with us under the Christmas tree.  But some people will, and there will be potential customers that look at the photo you posted and will say, “I have the same ugly Christmas sweater”, and wow, you've built a connection through an image with your potential customer, just by sharing a moment in time, it’s that easy.

This is what being visible is all about. 

Oh and by the way, if you enjoy learning tips on how to use imagery (and yes, even those crazy holiday pictures) to help you get more clients online, create an authentic connection & make your potential customer want to work with you, then you want to get in on my newsletter.  This is not me bothering your inbox, this is useful content and I currently deliver it approximately twice a month, with easy to follow tips and news to help your business: https://news.bonniedickson.com/news_and_tips