It all starts with the location. My suggestion in picking a locale is to find somewhere convenient. It could be as simple and easy as your backyard or living room. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!! This year we chose the beach as our holiday card backdrop. I was really worried the morning of the shoot because it was cloudy. I thought we were doomed, but my wonderful photographer, Gia Canali, assured me that it was the perfect day to shoot. Turns out, too much sun is actually bad news for taking photos!
Keep your subjects happy and make the process fun
I mean: a little bribery for kids and spouses is okay, but if things aren't going your way, give them a little room. Forcing it never works. Sometimes a little break or a change of scenery or a tiny snack is all you need to get back on track. I made the entire day about Brooks and I. It was the perfect Momma and boy day. We shot in the AM and then Brooksie and I had a wonderful afternoon. We went and got a little treat at the toy store and had a magnificent lunch of chicken fingers and ice cream.
Plan to shoot at a time when your kids are happy and awake, and, if you can manage it at the same time, in good light.
But if you have to choose one of the above, go for the happy time. P.S. Hungry kiddos and parents are NEVER the best subjects.
Choose simple, flattering clothes to wear.
You want to look great, but you don’t want to distract from your faces. Plan ahead. Rushing around at the last minute for outfit options is going to add to your stress level. I started looking for the perfect holiday gear about a month before the shoot. I found great stuff at Old Navy, Eggy and H&M.
Iron (or steam) your clothes!
You don't want to take a nice photo and still look rumpled! It probably seems like too much extra effort, especially if you hate ironing, like I do. But it’s so worth it, particularly for photos. Retouching that kind of stuff is almost impossible. It’s better to get it right on camera.
If you want to have a concept and / or props, keep that stuff as simple as possible.
Don’t feel like you need to overachieve with some elaborate prop scheme or activity. You want the personalities to shine! Sometimes a little activity, like playing at the beach, is all you need. Fun photographs best. I love hitting up the 99cent store for props. That’s where I found the reindeer antlers. How about a Santa hat? For our shoot we got balloons from Geronimo Balloons. If you haven’t heard of them before you should definitely check out their coolness.
Clean faces and clean noses make for the best photos
Wipes are your very best friend. I still have nightmares of my Momma licking her finger and then cleaning my face before school pictures.
In the end, it's important that you have an emotional attachment to the photo you choose.
Otherwise it makes designing the holiday card impossible.
This year I worked with Tiny Prints for our holiday card printing and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. I think a little “too” happy because I can’t decide on which to choose. Can you help me?!? Please reply in the comments below and tell me which card I should choose. I will post my top pick on Instagram.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.