Holiday Photoshoot Tips

How to Make Your Own Holiday Card Photoshoot at Home

The family photoshoot for the holiday card is a time-honored tradition in many families. Unfortunately, it may be harder for some to get that done this year. 

We’ve pulled together some tips and tricks for you to get that perfect family portrait yourself at home.

 

SET UP

Pick a Theme

One really simple way to make your photos look a little more professional is to have a cohesive theme for your photo. This could be as simple as having a color scheme or having a more intricate setting and clothing.

Carry this theme through your background, decorations, wardrobe, and any props that you use and it will make your photoshoot look so much more put together.

Backdrop

Build Your Own Backdrop

Creating a nice backdrop will really help to elevate your pictures to the next level but it doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive to make something that looks professional. 

First, find a blank or mostly blank wall in your house and make that the base of your backdrop, if you don’t have a blank wall, try hanging a plain colored sheet to act as a background. 

Next find some decorations that go with your theme, the simpler the better. For example, drape some twinkle lights and garland or hang some tinsel in long stripes down the backdrop.

Backdrop

Finally, if you want to add any props like a tree or something similar, set those up so they add to the scene but don’t overwhelm the shot.

Play With the Lighting

One thing that’s really going to help your photos look professional is having good lighting. Consider the tone of the lights that you’re using, is it a warmer toned light with more yellow or is it a cooler toned light with more white in it. Using different tones can help set different moods. For example, a warmer toned light can make the shot look more “cozy”, while a cooler toned light can make it look cleaner and more modern.

Also, consider trying a basic three-point lighting setup. Three-point lighting, as the name suggests, is a lighting set up with three points of light. Your main light (or key-light) is going to be shining more or less directly on you. Then you have a fill light which will be shining on the subjects from an angle and usually from lower down. Finally, you have your backlight, which is shining from behind the subject which will light the background and help to get rid of the shadows caused by the other two lights.

Play around with the placement of the lights until you’re happy with how the scene looks. Don’t worry if you don’t have “professional lighting” for this, you can just use table and desk lamps to achieve the look you want.

 

TAKING THE PICTURE

No Photographer? No Problem!

Now, taking the actual picture may seem difficult especially if you don’t have an extra person to hold the camera but it doesn’t have to be. 

The best tip we can give you is to use a tripod and a timer on your camera or phone. The tripod will help you get the exact framing that you want and hold your phone steady and the timer is going to make sure that you can be included in the picture even if you don’t have an extra pair of hands to hold the camera.

Tripod Shot

If you don’t have a tripod, try making one of your own. Usually, a snack table with a few books stacked on top works as a nice makeshift tripod. Just make sure that whatever structure you build is stable, you don’t want your phone or camera falling and getting damaged

Another tip, if you have some subjects that don’t want to stay still, you can just set your phone up to take a video and have it recording while you’re posing. Then just watch it back when you’re done and pull screenshots of the best shots.

Fancy Cameras Not Needed 

You might think that you need a professional DSLR camera to get a good shot but you really don’t. Most phone cameras have a high enough resolution that your pictures are going to look high quality. 

If you want some extra tips on how to take professional-looking photos on your photo camera, check out our blog post on the topic: 8 Tips to Take Your Phone Photography to the Next Level.

Smartphone Shot

Play Around in Post

Once you’ve set up your picture, taken the shots that you want, and picked your best ones then you can move on to editing. Now, you don’t have to edit your photos if you’re happy with the results of the raw pictures but a little bit of simple editing can make your photos go from good to great.

Even just using the editing tools built into the photo app on your phone will allow you to change the brightness, exposure, saturation, and more. There are also free apps that you can download that will have even more tools.

You can also use free websites like Canva to add fun and festive frames and stickers to your photos if you want to make them a little more whimsical.


This holiday season is going to definitely be different from any we’ve had before but that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice all of your cherished holiday traditions.

If you try any of these tips or tricks on your own home photoshoot, send us your picture or tag us on social media, we’d love to see how it goes.

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