November 10, 2008

Tips for Taking Holiday Family Portraits

in Art, Baby Stationery & Birth Announcements


With the winter holidays just around the corner, it’s time to get the family ready for your holiday card photo.  Regular Coochicoos readers know – one of our loves is beautiful photography (you have seen our Babyfaces site, haven’t you?)

Well, just in time, mommy blogger, Simple Mom, just posted her nine tips to taking great family portraits.  So, if you got a holiday photoshoot planned soon, make sure to include her tips to making your holiday cards memorable.

Here’s our comments on Simple Mom’s list:

  1. Make sure the kids are happy and rested.  Every parent knows that magic time when their kids are in a great mood, so make sure your scheduled photo time hits that sweet spot.
  2. Lighting is important, so be flexible.  My preference is shooting with natural lighting, and that means the a photographer’s  "magic hour" is either early morning or late afternoon.  Hmm, hope that works out with tip #1.
  3. On a budget?  Simple Mom suggests checking for budding photographers on Craigslist or asking friends to save the money on seasoned pros.  Checking local art schools or local mom forums might be a good idea too.  For Southern California parents, I love family forum activity at Peachhead Families.
  4. Get a package deal.  I agree – it’s always best to get all the photos from your photo shoot, instead of buying individual shots which can be more expensive.
  5. Coordinate, but don’t match.  I never thought of this tip, but it’s so obvious.  Dress every family member in the same color or outfit, and that dominates rather than the people.
  6. Avoid patterns.  Yep, go for solids – stripes, plaids or other patterns are too distracting.
  7. Go casual.  Another obvious tip that I wouldn’t think about.  If you get all dressed up, then every stray hair, crooked tie, or fun moment will look out of place.  Besides, a formal sitting ends up looking like a oil painting, no?
  8. The background is not the most important subject of your photo, so keep your location simple. Choosing a background location is a tough one for me, and one photography skill that is still hard for me to learn in my own photographs.  I just have to remind myself that the focus of a family portrait is the people and not the background.  What have been your most unexpected favorite photograph backgrounds?
  9. Get closer than you think.  A great tip for any beginning photographer is to get closer.  I found that if you think you’re close enough, get closer and compare the results.

Read Simple Mom’s full article here.

After you’ve taken your photos, visit Tiny Prints for a great selection of holiday cards.

Image via Ed Trillo

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