How To Shoot The Perfect Holiday Picture...

As parents,
we all want it.
That magical,
Christmas time picture of our little.
Here are my tips {in no particular order} in shooting that sweet Christmas photo...

01: Have a few holiday props.  ie. lights, scarf, jingle bells, a santa hat, anything with a little "pop" to it - you want it to stand out in the picture. This also gives the child something to play with while you attempt to snap a picture of them sitting still! Good luck with that!  If you find a tutorial on how to get your child to sit still- let me know!

02:  Find a sunny, bright spot in your house.  Doesn't matt if it is your laundry room-, it just needs to have great natural light. {You can still have the light in the room on, but most of light should come from some outside source, like a window, skylight, or door.}

03: You will need a large piece of fabric for a background.  I use a queen size white sheet but you can use what you like. I have also used a large piece of plywood that I covered with vintage wallpaper. My advice is keep it fairly neutral and light.  You want whatever you child is wearing to pop against the background, not blend in with it or compete for attention. Your child should be the only thing people notice.

04: Don't try to have a photo shoot when you child is cranky, sleepy, or stressed.  The pictures will be hard to take and will most likely turn out terrible.  Take it from me, I learned this lesson the hard way. I now do photo shoots right after nap, when Charlie has just had her bottle and is content and ready to interact.

05: Don't worry too much about boogies and flaws, you can edit most of these out and you need to take pictures fast!  Just click now, think later- there will be plenty of time to edit.  When taking pictures of kids, especially small children and babies, you want to take LOTS of pictures.  The more the better.  You will delete a lot, don't worry that is normal.  For Charlie's 9 month photo shoot I took over 300 pictures.

06: Turn your flash off! Try to take your pictures during the morning or afternoon on sunny days.  It makes all your efforts to create great natural lighting useless if you use that flash.  It causes red eye and little ones hate it.  So just turn it off unless you have a SUPER expensive flash you aren't making your picture any better.  

Instead you want to learn how to fix the exposure on your camera.  When shooting inside with my Nikon D5000 I usually set my exposure anywhere from 1/20 - 1/125  depending on how sunny and what time of day it is. You will have to play around with exposure levels and see what looks best to you.  This is the first thing I do when preparing to take pictures.  Before I even pose Charlie, I fix my exposure.  Usually this requires snapping a few pictures, seeing how to light turns out in them and then either upping the exposure or lowering it.  

While this is a little tricky at first, it will make a world of difference in your images! 

07: Use a photo editing service.  I love Picasa.  It is free and fairly easy to learn to use.  Rotate your pictures, crop them,  edit out the red eye, sharpen your image.  All of these things take an average photo to a stellar photo.  Learn your editing software well!  The more you use it, the quicker it will become and the more tricks you will learn to make your pictures really stand out.

08: Take pictures of the details!  Sometimes these turn out to be my favorite pictures.  They are the little things that make your child your child, it is what makes them a part of you. Take pictures of those little shoes, fingers, or peaceful eyelids.  Those are little moments you will never get back.  You will be glad you captured them!

 So relax, have fun, and take a cute holiday picture some sunny day this week...


  1. If you take a picture with a fleece blanket or fabric in the background it looks like a professional shot. One of my friends told me this. You cant see the wrinkles and it looks really good!

  2. I love the idea of using fleece! I use a white sheet and while sometimes I like the way it drapes, I hate the wrinkles! With a baby you can't just stop and iron it- so fleece would be a great material to keep on hand! Thanks for the tip! : )


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