Every year my family likes to send out Christmas cards to share season’s greetings with our friends and family we don’t get to see during the holidays. Naturally, my wife assigns me the task of capturing the Christmas card photo, but even if you’re not a professional photographer, you can still get great photos with a few simple tips.
The first thing to remember when shooting your Christmas card photo or any portrait during the holiday season is how to pose your subjects in the most flattering manner. You always want to have your subjects’ heads staggered in different portions of a horizontal or vertical line and never all on the same plane. This is much more complementary and shapes the photograph much better.
If you want to shoot your Christmas card in front of a Christmas tree, keep in mind this will likely be a vertical image in order to capture the full tree in the photograph. If you want a horizontal photo but still want your tree in it, make sure to frame your photo from the waist up so you can just see tree behind your subjects. This way, the people themselves will stand out in the photo.
As always, it is important to find good lighting when you're taking any kind of photograph. A shot outdoors in natural light is always best, but if your shooting indoors without window light, make sure to use a flash. Using a flash can add more detail, color and saturation to your photo. Also make sure that all the lights in the house are on, from desk lights to ceiling lights. Mixing artificial light with available light can create a beautiful, warm ambience for your photo.
When shooting outdoors, remember to be mindful of what’s in the background. You never want to have trees or fence posts growing out of the back of someone’s head!
And don’t forget to shoot a wide variety of photos, both horizontal and vertical and in many different lighting environments. You want to have a variety of options when picking the best photo for your Christmas card image.