Twenty Sixteen is flying by and it’s getting to be the time of the year to start thinking about sending holiday photo cards to friends and family! We all know a great holiday photo card when we see one — but what is it about it that makes it so beautiful, and how can we create a stunning card of our own that truly captures the spirit of the season?
Since a great photo card often starts with a great photo, we turned to professional family and wedding photographer Stephanie Kotaniemi of SK Photography for advice. Whether you’re having your family’s photos professionally shot or are taking them at home with your own camera, Stephanie has some truly great tips on getting lovely holiday photos. She shares advice on what to wear, fun holiday props to include (we love her chalkboard signs and cozy blankets really create a charming holiday feel!), photography techniques, and advice on choosing the best holiday card to pair with your family’s favorite photo(s).
In your opinion, what makes a great family holiday photo?
Great holiday photos start with getting your family in the holiday spirit (even if you are taking the photos in November!) I always do my holiday sessions at a Christmas tree farm, with holiday music playing, candy canes, and cookies to get everyone in the spirit of the season. Once everyone is feeling jolly, I start snapping away!
What are some top trends for holiday photos that you’ve been seeing, what are your favorites?
Ex. Christmas Car with Tree on top, Family members wrapped up in holiday lights, families dress in costumes or pjs, etc
Everyone in Ugly Christmas Sweaters is always cute and hilarious. You also can’t go wrong with a ton of Christmas lights behind the family so everyone is “merry and bright!”
What are some of your favorite locations to shoot holiday photos?
I kind of already answered this but Christmas Tree Farms! Or just regular farms with big red barns!
What are some tips that you give your clients to help them prepare for a photo shoot. (outfits, hair, props, etc)
Accessories are everything! Hats, scarves, gloves, blankets, boots, sweaters, etc. Those all add to the overall Holiday feel you want in your images. Try to stay in the Holiday color palette (ie: red, green, white, gold, silver, creams, tans) to avoid clashing with your holiday scenery.
Do you have any tips for families who plan to take their own photos?
If you are planning to take some holiday photos at home, I recommend using your holiday tree as a background. If you have a DSLR camera and lens that is capable of shooting at low apertures, shoot at a f/4 or lower to get great background blur of your tree lights! Another adorable option is having everyone in their pajamas snuggled up on the couch in a big holiday blanket. Little chalkboard signs that say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” can add a whole lot of magic to your photos.
Any tips you could share on pairing a favorite holiday photo with a personalized card?
Generally when I am pairing photos to cards I go off of what the family is wearing. If the family was mostly wearing all creams and golds I wouldn’t select a card that was heavy with reds, blacks, and other darker colors. Instead, I would try to find a card with simple elegant text in maybe silver or gold with lots of white space. In comparison, if I had a family that wore mostly reds and greens, I might try to find a card that had a little pattern that would tie in those colors. My general rule though is clean and easy-to-read is always the best!
Family Photos by SK Photography