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10 Dos & Don’ts for the Best Family Holiday Card Photo Yet

Through the madness of the start of school, busy work schedule and gearing up for the stressful holiday season, it’s easy to leave your annual family holiday card (and the corresponding photos) to the last minute. 

But even if you only have 20 minutes on a Sunday after church to squeeze in time to take that family pic, there are a few essential things everyone needs to know before saying “cheese.”

DoPick a Fun Theme

Courtesy of The Berry.com

A theme can be fun and creative without getting too over-the-top. The most memorable cards are the funny and creative ones, like this family recreating their favorite characters from A Christmas Story. Just make sure your whole family is on board, and that it’s executed in a way that’s fun without being awkward or offensive.


Don’t: Choose an Awkward Theme

Courtesy of Awkward Family Photos.com

Unless you want to end up on Awkward Family Photos.


Do: Pick a Favorite Outdoor Spot 

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Your backyard, a cherished place in the park or even a sentimental street corner make for a memorable and personalized holiday card.


Don’tTry to Look Too Posed and Perfect

Courtesy of CelebBuzz.com

The more you stress out over the idyllic family holiday card, the more your frustrations will reflect in the photo. It also comes off as stiff and impersonal, like the Kardashian's family Christmas card from 2011 (although who is really surprised?). Your family should be fun, relaxed and themselves.


DoCoordinate Outfits

Courtesy of Pinterest.

This doesn’t mean identical top-to-bottom looks on everyone, necessarily – although who doesn’t love the classic khaki pants and white button-up whole-family wardrobe? Staying within the same color family and same style of clothing makes the photo look pulled-together and natural. The Wright family in the photo above all wore shades of red and white with jeans, and didn't try to look too match-matchy (which can look annoying).

Make sure you decide early: Will you all be wearing denim? Dresses and slacks? Sweaters? Let your family know early enough so they can get their outfits together.  


Do: Choose a Collection of Family Photos Throughout the Year

Courtesy of Pinterest

Some of the best Christmas cards use photos that had been taken over the course of the year, including fun family vacations or major milestones. One or even several of these photos make for a nice and personal card, but be mindful of the revealing bikini shots, or anything your grandmother might generally find distasteful.


Do: Take Photos in Good, Natural Lighting

Courtesy of EpicDangerBlog.com

Nothing is more essential to good photos than lighting. Taking photos outside in the natural sunlight is best, but just make sure your space is well-lit and looks bright on camera.


Don’t: Forget About What’s Going on in the Background

Courtesy of Awkward Family Photos

Or the foreground, as shown in this card featured on Awkward Family Photos. How many awkward photos have gone viral because of something lewd or strange happening no one noticed until hundreds were printed out and mailed? Exactly. Double, triple check!


Do: Include Your Pets

Courtesy of Oysters and Pearls

They’re part of the family too, right?


Do: Pay Attention

Courtesy of Awkward Family Photos

At least, make sure everyone in your family is on the same page without being too distracted. Unless that's the look you're going for, then by all means.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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