How to Pick Out Clothing for Your Christmas Photos

Picking out clothes for a family photo is always stressful. For ten years and over a dozen photo shoots, my goal has been perfection—the perfect combination, the perfect colors, that will come together in one perfect photograph that I can put on a card or hang on a wall.

Here are a few tips that I hope will help you save time when pulling together your family photo ideas, so you can achieve your own version of ‘perfect’ without all the stress.

first pic
This year I wanted a muted, natural palette that didn’t distract from our outdoor location. I am collecting family photo ideas all year long, and as a mother of four I’m also shopping for kids’ clothing all year long. The trick is having a place to keep all my ideas, so I’m not struggling to find them later, when I actually need them.

Create inspiration boards. This allows me to add things, try different color palettes and move things around to establish my final look. Here is a peek at my Holiday Clothes 2013 inspiration board on Pinterest.
How to Pick Out Clothing for Your Christmas Photos
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Photography Tips from Photographers

Getting ready to take family photos can be a daunting task filled with questions. (What should we wear? Where should we go? How do we get a photo that doesn’t look forced?) We asked a couple of our favorite photographers for some photography tips that might help you feel better prepared for your upcoming photo session.

Tips from Christy Bode Photography & Sarah Halstead Photography:

1. Find someone who shares your style.
Photography Tips from Photographers Themselves
When choosing a photographer, make sure you like their style and their quality of work by reviewing their website, blog and Facebook page. If you only ‘sort of like’ their photos, or ‘sort of like’ their style, definitely keep searching! You want to love your images and finding a photographer with a style you love is the first step. ~Christy

2. Plan what to wear.
Photography Tips from Photographers
This is the most common question I get from families. My advice is to definitely plan your outfits ahead of time. Doing this will help you love your photos even more. With that said, it doesn’t need to be stressful, and don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for help or ideas. I typically recommend dressing the girls first, then go to the boys. If you have all boys like I do, that means starting with yourself. ~Christy

Photography Tips from Photographers Themselves
It is best to color coordinate versus matching. For example, if everyone is wearing the same solid color colored shirt, it may end up looking more like a uniform. Family photos are fun-everyone should get to show their personality! I recommend choosing an outfit scheme of 3-4 colors. Textures and layers show up nicely in photos. Always avoid logos. Timeless looks are the best vs. a current trend. Simple attire with solid colors or small patterns is key! ~Sarah

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More Christmas Card Photo Ideas

We’ve chosen some of our favorite new Christmas cards to illustrate how clothing choices and the use of photo filters in your Christmas card photos can dramatically change the way your cards look. (Of course, starting with one of our awesome Christmas card designs doesn’t hurt!)

If you already have your card picked out, be sure to show it to your photographer because, aside from letting him or her know the style of photo you like, it can inspire location, posing, propping or lighting ideas. Knowing whether you may want to try black and white or a photo filter is important, too. Here are some Christmas card photo ideas from our new collection we wanted to share.

Make your colors count
Merry Merry Picture Frame Christmas Cards
Twinkle Lights Photo Book -- Christmas Cards
The red sweater, green pants and scarf on the little boy in our Merry Merry Picture Frame Christmas Cards absolutely make the photo, especially with the white snow, dog, and relatively colorless background to make the colors really pop. Similarly, the bright colors of the shirts on the kids in our Twinkle Lights Photo Book Christmas Cards match the card’s bright color palette. If you want a bright card, wearing bright clothes is one way to achieve that!

Let your card wear the colors
Joy Full Christmas Cards Sparkly Wishes Christmas CardsTall Tale Photo Christmas Cards Vintage Treescape Circle Photo Christmas Cards
Another way to emphasize bright colors is use black and white photos, and frame them in a colorful card to let the holiday message stand out. To make sure your photo looks great in black and white, wear darker colors than your skin tone so faces are highlighted. And if you are starting with a color photo and adding a black and white filter, try adding the contrast & sharpen filters or the vibrance filter to intensify the lights and darks in the photo. Four examples shown, clockwise from top left: Joy Full, Sparkly Wishes, Vintage Treescape Circle and Tall Tale Christmas Cards.

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Sending Love Any Time of the Year

While Valentine’s Day may be the usual day to send a love note, I had a different idea this year. I decided to send some love to my family and closest friends by tucking photo strips of my son and his ever-changing faces and poses into a note (I chose Long Distance Love from Pear Tree Greetings). My family and friends enjoyed the randomness of receiving a love note in April, so I wanted to share the idea with you. Below are the steps I did to send some love!
Sending Some LoveSending Some LoveSending Some Love Continue reading

Photography Tips – Kids Valentine’s Day Photo Shoot

I love sending Valentine’s Day cards. And I love taking photos. So, we decided to have an office Valentine’s Day photo shoot with our own kids. Fun day in the office, right? Then, we decided it’d be fun to make a video to share the results with you—not just our cute Valentine’s Day photos, but also a few photography tips on achieving some of those big smiles we all love. For added fun, we threw in some behind-the-scenes video footage because, as a photographer, I always wonder what the real ‘set’ looks like! So check out the video and the tips below to make your Valentine’s Day cards sparkle. :)

Now here are some photography tips and ideas to help you achieve the actual photos you saw in the video.

Valentine's Day Photo IdeasFor our main background, we painted a 4×4 section of plywood with chalkboard paint. Chalkboard paint wasn’t entirely necessary since we didn’t write on it, we just liked the black background against our garland. And speaking of the garland, you can get it as a free printable! It’s easy to cut out and a fun activity to do with your kids.

Photography Tip: Try placing something on your head and asking the child to blow it off. Just about anything works. I used a paper heart. It should either be something the child will physically be able to blow off, or that with a slight tilt of your head, they’ll think they did! Also setting the child on a box or a crate typically keeps them in one spot, long enough at least for a few quick photos!

Valentine's Day Photo IdeasFor this background, we used two sets of gold metallic curtains, right on top of each other. Inexpensive, and they come in many colors!

Photography Tip: Giving kids a prop like sunglasses allows them to interact and play with something, which keeps them occupied long enough for photos. And even the motions of taking off the glasses can be really cute!

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