DIY Family Photos

December 10, 2014

Christmas time is here! Let the bells ring! Let the carolers sing!

Christmas is just my favorite; that’s all there is to it. One of my favorite things about the season is sending and receiving adorable Christmas cards, especially the ones with family photos. However, getting family photos taken can be a stressful event and can also be quite expensive.

I have had a lot of success doing my own family pictures and I promise that you don’t have to be a professional or have a professional camera to get great pictures of your family. I will tell you that having someone else take my family’s pictures is certainly my preference, but unfortunately it’s not always possible — and my family is a lot more willing to do a 15 minute backyard photo shoot with me than they are to get all dressed up and do an hour photo session somewhere else.

Today I am sharing a few tips with you on how to get great pictures of your family for this season!

Lighting is everything. 

I took this picture of my son while he was playing with a car on the windowsill. Using the flash on your camera really won’t give you a catchlight, but more of the deer-in-headlights of look. If you can, take your photos in natural sunlight and turn your flash off. Natural light is always so much more flattering and realistic than an on-camera flash. The only exception is if you have spent money and purchased a professional diffused flash, which most of us have not done!

Let the sun be to one side of your subject. If they are squinting turn them until they are able to keep their eyes open. In the picture of my son above, the sun was to his left, and notice the twinkle in his eye: this is called catchlight. Sometimes the shadows are too harsh to keep the light to the side of your subject, so position them with the sun behind them that way you won’t have any sun-streaked faces.

I’m a huge fan of using what you have. I bought this wreath from Target for my front door, but realized it would make a cute photo prop. I took the bench from my kitchen table and set it infront of our fence and viola! A cute and simple photo area was created.

If you want a picture of your whole family, I highly suggest getting a tripod and wireless remote. But if you do not have either of those items, you do still have options. Use the self timer mode on your camera. Having 10 seconds to run into the photo can be tricky, but I can tell you from experience that it can work! I have also been known to stack books on top of a small table or chair when I couldn’t find my tripod. I’ll do pretty much anything to get that family picture!

Just have fun.

Make funny faces at each other and just have fun! My husband was making faces and talking silliness to our 2 year old here and it created an adorable portrait. Most of my favorite pictures are the ones that don’t look completely posed.

I know how difficult it can be to get kids to smile naturually for the camera, so my very best friend is my Owl Camera Creature. Seriously, it’s one of the best $20 purchases I have ever made. But you can definitely make-do without one, just use a favorite toy to get your children’s attention from behind the camera. Something that jingles or squeeks works best because it grabs their attention, or let a friend or family member act crazy and make funny noises behind the camera to get your kids and family laughing.

Another way to make taking pictures of kids easy is to follow thier lead. When I’m taking pictures of a child, I follow them around and let them point things out to me they like or want to see. Then I ask them a funny question to make them laugh or smile. If you’re forcing them to sit still in a designated area, most times they won’t like it. So go with the flow and your pictures will turn out great!

PS: I’m wearing the Dainty Jewell’s Bow Sweater Dress and it has become one of my favorites! It’s very comfortable and clearly adorable! It’s also on clearance right now and would make a great Christmas gift for anyone on your list.