auntie v’s tips for holiday photography

Years before I opened my photography business, I was the official family photographer.  I loved this job, but it didn’t come without its pressure and stress, especially during the holidays.  If you are your family’s shutterbug, I share with you now a few tips I have learned.  And trust me, nothing breaks me out in a cold sweat quicker than the thought of having to herd MY cats in front of my camera!

1. Everyone needs to be as relaxed as possible.  Tense people do not look their best in photos.  Promise everyone a sticker, a cup of hot chocolate (or something stronger!) if they will work with you for just a few minutes.  Then have everyone tense up every muscle, close their eyes, then breathe out, relax, open their eyes, and truly smile.  You will get much, much better family portraits.

2. Have family members put their arms around one another, lean against one another, sit close together, or hold hands.  Family photos are all about telling a story and creating a sense of intimacy.

3.  Keep your background as simple as possible.  If you can, separate your family from the background so that the faces are crisp and clear, and the background becomes less so.

4.  Try to have folks avoid large or very busy patterns, unless of course you are hosting an ugly sweater party.  In that case, carry on.

5.  Above all else, HAVE FUN.  If you happen to have an unhappy baby or a surly teenager, continue on without letting it ruin the moment.  Everyone else’s smiles and cooperation will take attention away and you can chalk it up to capturing your family in that moment, being who they are.

Happy, happy holidays.  I would love to see everyone’s family pictures!


P.S. I would like to note that the Stooksbury family (pictured) needed no coaching whatsoever.  These people could teach a master’s course on posing for photos!