It's that time of year, time to start planning for our annual family Christmas card. I love sending out our holiday card every year, it's one of my Christmas traditions, but it can be stressful if you don't plan it right. Here are a few tips I've gathered over the years to make your family holiday card a more joyful and peaceful experience.
- Start Early. If you are planning on using a photographer lock down your date asap and aim for early to mid November. This is prime season for them and they book up quick. Plus you never know what could happen to ruin your photo day and send you into panic mode. Bad weather, a photographer cancellation, a family emergency. Get your date down on the calendar and your photos done early so you have plenty of time before the craziness of the holidays hits.
- Do Your Research. Have an idea of what you want before you show up. I've pinned a ton of favorite family photo ideas on my Pinterest board below. Decide on your family style first. Are you going for something playful and funny, or do you want a beautiful, classic pic of your brood. Send your ideas to your photographer and let him/her know what you have in mind.
- Location, location, location. Indoors or outdoors, your home or somewhere else. By the tree, by the fireplace, by a barn, by a building, on the front steps. Of course there's always the local tree farm. Want something a little different, think outside the box. A nice hotel or a local bed and breakfast may have a beautiful lobby or sitting room that would be gorgeous. Country clubs are a great place to try too and will often allow you to shoot on property for free or a small fee.
- Color Scheme. Those pics that you swoon over where the family looks so perfect, like they just stepped out of a J Crew catalog, they all have one important thing in common– a great color scheme. Now that you have your location in mind you'll want to match it to your family's attire. If you are shooting outdoors you'll have a wider range of options, almost anything really. Indoors, you need to consider the colors and style of the room. I've put together a list of color scheme ideas below
- What to Wear. Pick a mix of solids and patterns for everyone. If your background is busy try to keep your clothing a bit more basic. Think about cold weather gear and bundling looks with hats and scarves to give your pics a wintery feel.
- Props. Jazz up your family holiday photo with a few fun props. A wreath or some shimmery ornaments to hold. Christmas lights can give your pic a cool effect and add a little sparkle. Chalkboard print signs, a plaid throw, even some photobooth style props.
- Printing. Deciding who to print your cards through may come down to how many you need to send out. Fancier folded cards can get expensive, as much as $10 or more per card. If you've got a big Christmas list that may be a budget breaker. But beware printing cards through your local drugstore or box store. Always check the quality of the printing first. I've ordered photos before that came out a completely different color before. A professional printing service will allow you more options for the finish of the photo and the quality, thickness of the card.