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  • Writer's pictureTrisha McKinney

Strike a Pose: DIY Family Photos for Your Perfect Christmas Card!


Ah, the holiday season—where twinkling lights adorn the streets, the scent of pine fills the air, and the quest for the ultimate family Christmas card photo begins! We all know the struggle: coordinating outfits, convincing the little ones and even the teens to smile (at the same time), and hoping that the dog doesn't decide to photobomb with a chewed-up toy in tow.


Fear not, brave holiday warriors! DIY family photos for your Christmas card are not only achievable but can also become cherished memories in the making. So, grab your Santa hats and get ready to strike a pose—let's dive into the art of capturing that perfect moment!


1. Location, Location, Location: Whether it’s your cozy living room adorned with garlands or a nearby park decked out in snow, choose a spot that reflects your family's personality. Embrace the chaos of home or venture into nature’s wintry wonderland—the choice is yours!

I knew there was still time to get that elusive family photo, order cards, and get delivered before Christmas but the time was running out and the pictures needed to happen by Sunday. I forwarned the family {three days' notice} and started scoping our home for the perfect spot. I wanted it to be as stress-free as possible, so packing up our family of four and two dogs for an offsite photoshoot was out of the picture.




The winner was our backyard, which has a beautiful view of rolling hills which made the perfect backdrop for this year's family picture.


2. Coordinated Chaos: Coordinating outfits doesn't mean everyone has to match perfectly (unless matching ugly sweaters is your thing—then go for it!). Think complementary colors or a festive theme, and remember, accessories like Santa hats or reindeer antlers can be game-changers!

I'm normally a bit of a control freak when it comes to this part of family photos and I picked out EVERYONE's outfits. I threw the entire family for a loop when I said find something that is white, beige, or black, "I'm wearing a white sweater and jeans". They all were a bit paralyzed for a minute or two and didn't quite know what to do {Skott changed a couple of times}. I knew if I got too involved it would be complete chaos and stress and I wanted to avoid that like the plague.





3. Timing Is Everything: Schedule your photoshoot when everyone's well-fed and well-rested. Hungry and tired faces rarely scream "holiday cheer" in photos. Plus, natural light is your best friend, so aim for that golden hour for a soft, flattering glow.

I remember from photo shoots past that the best time to take photos is a dusk. 4:00 pm it was and the lighting was perfect! There is no squinting in the sun, no shadows, and no streaks of sun across the camera.






4. Embrace the Candid: Sometimes, the unplanned moments capture the true essence of your family. Don't be afraid of a little chaos—laughter, tickle fights, or even those adorable messy hair moments can make for the most heartwarming pictures.

Now we were taking these photos ourselves, I ditched the idea of setting and timer and dug out my trusty Bluetooth clicker that came with the tripod. Once we figured out our positioning I just started clicking away. The photos we all agreed upon were the more candid photos, us all looking at the camera and smiling just didn't feel like us or authentic.





5. DIY Magic: You don’t need fancy equipment—a smartphone and some creativity can work wonders. Experiment with angles, try different poses (serious or silly—why not both?) and don't forget to take plenty of shots. The more, the merrier!

We used a tripod and an iPhone, if you don't have a tripod no worries—get inventive! Books, a stack of sturdy boxes, or even a makeshift stand using household items can serve as a tripod substitute. Prop up that smartphone securely, and you're ready to embark on your DIY photo adventure.


Our secret weapon was Skott's trusty iPhone 15—its crisp camera quality truly elevated our impromptu photoshoot. But remember, it's not just about the gear; it's about the moments you capture. So, whether it's an iPhone 15, an older model, or any smartphone with a camera, the magic lies in the memories you create.



6. Edit & Personalize: Once you have a bunch of snapshots, dive into editing apps to add a touch of magic. A little tweak here and there can make the colors pop or turn a regular photo into a vintage masterpiece. And hey, consider adding a fun holiday border or a personalized message for that extra festive touch!

Here's what I did for ours, put the phone in portrait mode and increased the depth. Once we agreed on the photos {which was quicker than I thought it would be} I edited them on the phone in just the photo editing tools provided in Photos. I do have other editing apps but this worked just fine cropped and used the vivid filter {you can see the difference below} and voila they were ready for uploading.






7. Spread the Cheer: Once you've selected that one perfect photo (or maybe a collage of hilarious outtakes), it’s time to spread the holiday cheer! Print those cards or go digital—email, social media, carrier pigeon—however you share, your loved ones will appreciate the effort and the heartfelt sentiment behind it.

Within thirty minutes of taking, reviewing, and editing the photos I had them uploaded to the Simply To Impress website, uploaded my Christmas card address list, and with a few clicks the order was placed and our friends and family should have them before Christmas (fingers crossed). Simply to impress is not a partner, I'm just a happy customer who has used them for years on different occasions.



When it was all said and done, we went out and celebrated our stress-free photo session with a family dinner {dogs included} down by the beach and had a lovely evening together.



Family Dinner Selfie

Remember, the goal isn't perfection—it's capturing the spirit of togetherness and joy. So, embrace the chaos, the laughter, and the occasional photo-bombed shot by the family pet. After all, those imperfections make the best stories to share around the fireplace for years to come.


Here’s to the giggles, the awkward poses, and the love that radiates from each snapshot—may your DIY Christmas card photos capture all that and more. Happy snapping and happy holidays from our (occasionally chaotic but always lovable) family to yours!



Simply to Impress Christmas 2023

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