How to Take Holiday Photos with Kids

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see I’m OB-sessed with taking pictures of my little ones. Since getting them to pose is next to impossible sometimes, I normally just take little snapshots here and there. Sometimes the most authentic and messy photos can turn out the cutest.

With that said, I still like to take professional photos during the holidays. I cherish them like nothing else. I send them out with our holiday cards and also frame them to look at year round. Last year before the holidays, my photographer, Gia Canali, shared her tips on getting the perfect holiday photos with the hardest of the subjects…your children. If you’re a momma, you know what I’m talking about. It can be rough!


Since we are taking ours over the Thanksgiving weekend, I asked Gia to give a little brush up lesson on how to take the perfect holiday photo. I wanted to do it a little earlier because a lot of families will take them ahead of time. The photos I’m sharing today are obviously a little older but once I get my new ones done of both of my angels—they will be posted … immediately.

Here are some tips and tricks specifically for working with kids:


Get close—and then give some space—and then get close! It’s important to strike a balance between both approaches. Sometimes kids do their best stuff when they think they’re off camera or you’re not paying attention. And sometimes getting close gives you different perspective.


Use the element of surprise to make things fun!

I loved balloons last year. If you don’t have something specific planned or handy, just a change of scenery is enough to get kids back into making the photos.

Gia Canali Photography
Gia Canali Photography

Revisiting a simple prop or theme every year is a fun way to show how your family changes.

Molly found these antlers and took a few photos of Brooks with them when he was a baby—so we used them again when he was one and when he was two.

Gia Canali Photography
Gia Canali Photography

And we will use them again this year, too! It’s so fun to see how much he has grown up. We will probably use something that like on Scarlett, too!

Gia Canali Photography
Gia Canali Photography

Always include at least one Santa costume. Always.


I mean, come on. The picture says it all!

Let go of your own expectations!

I love to plan out a shoot, but leaving room for the thrill of the unexpected is one of the best things you can do when you’re trying to make great photographs of kids.


When working specifically with babies, be on their schedule.

Their sleep and awake schedules are so short and by the time they've eaten and been changed, you may only get a few good "awake" minutes.  So be ready for those minutes and use them wisely!  Of course, babies look adorable even asleep, so don't worry if they just snooze through the shoot.


Also, I almost always photograph babies at home. It's easier on the babies and easier on the families, too.

I cannot WAIT to have the holiday photos done this year especially since Scarlett will be involved, too. It’s her first Christmas and Brooksie’s first Christmas with a baby sister!