family holiday photo

Baubles, Bangles, Beads, Bling: Taking Your Best Holiday Photos

Hurrying through the mall and seeing the hordes of restless kids and anxious parents waiting for seat time on Santa’s lap reminds us that an important part of the holidays is creating memorable moments and recording them to look at (and laugh about) later. Whether you’re part of the photograph or the head rustler charged with getting people together for the big happy holiday portrait, here are 10 tips for getting your best holiday photos. 

If you’re in the photograph…

Think blend before bling:

Choose a classy and bright accessory or two and an overall outfit that’s neutral. The holidays do not call for a red and green plaid blazer or jolly Santa Claus tie with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer tie clip.

You don’t need every holiday symbol:

You don’t want to be seated in front of a fully decorated Christmas tree, lighting a menorah, wearing a star around your neck and rocking baby Jesus in a manger with your winter-booted foot. The photo is seen during the holidays, either in a card or on your social media postings. People will understand the significance.

every holiday symbol

Forget holiday lights; that’s the photographer’s job:

Don’t wear them around your neck, on a sweater or insist the photographer add them digitally. The professional can add appropriate background lighting or soften and blur the photo to create a gentle glow. Bright lights out, strive for subtle effects and taking a perfect picture.

Avoid big, shiny jewelry:

It gives off a glare that interferes with the photography. And if your glasses cause reflective glare, consider removing them for the shoot.

shiny jewelry

Don’t experiment with a new beauty routine:

The night before: You show up with orange hair, blotchy skin, lips on the verge of exploding or botched eyebrows, and you’ll wish you’d changed your plans. Stick with your regular routine, have your hair done at least a few days before the shoot, and if you color your hair, do so at least a week ahead. This gives the color time to mellow and appears less harsh in photographs.

If you’re in charge of organizing everyone:

Let everyone know well ahead of time:

Get to the photography studio early, and keep up with everyone via phone and text. The photographer’s time is money and during the holiday, they are usually tightly booked with appointments.

Coordinate outfits:

To avoid “matching syndrome,” ugly sweater disease and other extremes, discuss appropriate clothing. Otherwise, teenagers tend towards the rebellious, and show up in board shorts, busted flip flops, and ban-worthy T-shirts, claiming “It’s cool; they have the holiday colors in them!” Grandpa arrives wearing his Santa sneakers (the ones that go “Ho Ho Ho!” when he bends over to touch his toes) and your mom insists on wearing her hair band with the three-foot reindeer antlers. Clearly, these probably shouldn’t be in your best holiday photos. 

Have someone available for hair and makeup:

The professional pampering will please your Auntie Gert, and it’s nice to have someone unrelated to you tell her that her blue sparkly eyeshadow is a questionable choice, given this photo will be in everyone’s home for the foreseeable future.

Make sure children are welcome and happy:

A group photo session is tiring for the little ones. Have a separate play area (minus any messy art-type toys and crafts) for them.

Let the photographer know you’re the group coordinator:

The photographer cannot accept special requests from everyone, continuously rearrange the seating and take pictures simultaneously. One person in the group is responsible for requests and issues and funnels these concerns to the photographer or their assistant.

Korey Howell understands the importance of class and style in any professional photo, holiday or year-round. Whether done in her studio or your office, you’ll look your best because she sees the best in everyone in front of her camera. Contact the studio for your professional headshot appointment today! 

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