Better Holiday Pictures With These Tips


The holidays are just around the corner and this means family gettogethers! This also means picture time! We both know that our cell phones will be our go-to cameras. So make the most of it with these tips!


Take the party outside!  If your family gathering is during the day, take advantage of nice weather and take the party outside!

  • Plan ahead and pick a spot for different poses.
  • Ask some of the craftier relatives to include some holiday themed props. I highly recommend a sign or numbers with the year.
  • Get the kids involved and interested in the ‘photo session’ by having them create their own prop such as a name tag or Santa beard. This can be done days before the party if not the day of.
  • And there’s nothing wrong with having multiple spots. Maybe have one just for the kids and another for the adults. If possible pick a spot that’s shaded or have the sun behind everyone. 
  • Consider including grandpa’s car in the shot to add a unique composition and a little family history to your memories.

If your family gathering will be in the evening, or indoors, most of the tips above can still be useful. But here are a few more. 

  • For indoors, consider the room with the highest ceiling to avoid having the ceiling fan or lighting fixtures be the center of attention in your shot. 
  • Don’t be afraid to move some furniture around. For example, move some chairs or barstools behind a sofa. These two tips lead to my next one!
  • For low ceiling rooms and for large groups, make a mini stadium. Here’s what I’m thinking. Have a few people sit or kneel on the floor, perfect for kids, then have a row of family sitting on a sofa, and then pull up some barstools behind. This will create that stadium, wink wink! 

Consider taking family pictures before everyone eats!  This is a great tip that ensures everyone’s clothes will hopefully be wrinkle free and definitely be free from gravy or dessert stains! You could also consider bringing clothes to change into but that is completely optional.

Get everyone looking at the camera!  Whether you’re outside or in, one helpful way to get everyone looking at the camera, or in the general vicinity, is to take turns snapping away. Everyone will want to take pictures so take turns. Having one person at a time take a picture tells everyone where to look. This is especially helpful if you’re getting a group photo of all the kids (and sometimes even of adult siblings ha!). 

Look for the best light!  This goes for both day and night, outdoors or indoors. 

For outdoor photos, as mentioned above, and if the sun is out look for a spot with shade. Or have the sun just above and behind your family. You don’t want everyone squinting in the picture. 

For indoor photos, if you’re using your phone’s camera consider not using the flash. Nowadays everyone has a flashlight on their phone. Have two people stand on the sides and shine their flashlight on your family.  This should also reduce red eye. Be careful of standing near lighting fixtures such as a chandeliers or lamps as they can cause unnatural shadows to fall on faces.  

Get posing! Wherever you decide to take pictures consider these tips for posing. 

  • Get close! For large groups this is extremely helpful! Hug it out! Have a small group? Hug it out!
  • For family members wearing eyeglasses make sure to have them push their glasses up and tilt head down just a tad. If tilted up you might get glare from the sun or light bulb. 
  • Don’t say cheese. Try something different that’ll get family smiling. “Turkey”? “Gobble Gobble”? “Dashing through the snow”? An inside joke perhaps! 😉 
  • Take as many pictures as your battery and phone memory will allow! You can always delete the ones that don’t make the cut. 
  • Have fun! Don’t just get the posed looks. Get everything in between! 
  • Add something to represent a loved one that’s passed. A favorite jacket, a framed picture, or even a hat. 

My last tip, for now, is… drum roll please…

BE IN THE PICTURE! This might be my most important tip. If you don’t use any of the ones above, please do this one!  

I’d be thrilled to know if any of these tips helped you during the holiday season so let me know! 

From my family to yours, we wish you the happiest of holidays! 

Love always,

Vanessa Figueroa and family

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