How to Get that Perfect Holiday Picture

We’ve all been there…the dreaded Holiday Family Picture.  Some people choose to get their portraits taken professionally while others decide that they are going be do-it-yourself types.  If you’ve ever been in a situation where it’s taken you 2 hours to set up your photo and then begged everyone to smile and look at the camera, then this post is for you!

Set it Up

The first thing to understand is your camera and its settings.  Most point and shoots have 5 or more settings to choose from, which can be ultra confusing when you just want a good, crisp image.  If you’re looking to get the best image possible with the people in your life, turn the dial to the Portrait Mode (which can also be shown as two heads or as a flower on your point and shoot).  This will tell your camera to focus on the faces and to blur out some of the background.

To flash or not to flash?

If you’re looking for natural portraits, I highly discourage using flash.  It washes out faces and makes everything look very “homemade”.  Instead, take your pictures around between noon and 2PM when there is lots of natural sunlight.  Have your family members stand near a window that has the shades open and turn on those Christmas Tree lights.  That way, you’ll have plenty of light for your camera to use to get a higher quality image.   Also, try your best to position people at a 45 degree angle to the light that is streaming in from that window.  This will provide the most natural shadows and lighting on your subjects.


So many times, I see photos which are cluttered with presents, the dog, the tree, stockings and lights.  This doesn’t provide any focus to the image and detracts from the main purpose: your beautiful family.  Instead, remember the rule of thirds.  When looking through your viewer, divide the image you see into three equal parts.  Place objects within one of those three sections.   The other thing to remember: take all the props you’ve gathered and get rid of 50% of them.  Remember: you want the focus on your subjects – NOT the objects.

Looking for more?

I’ve heard from many clients that they would love to have a mini-class on how to take good pictures of their family and kids with their own cameras.  Well….I have some great news!


This would make a great holiday gift, or even a treat to yourself.  If you found this small post helpful, this class will really give you the tools to bring out the best in your kids and your family.  But remember to register early – there are limited spots available!  Happy Holidays!


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