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Five tips to get a better family photo this Christmas

Updated: Jan 16, 2020

Make use of outdoor light to get better family group photos on Christmas Day

It’s the one time of the year there’s a good chance all the family will be together which makes it the perfect opportunity to get a family photo. So why does everyone always hate doing the Christmas photo so much? (Yet they all love to have a copy afterwards.)

You know you’re going to regret it if you let this opportunity slip past so here’s five awesome tips to help you get a great family photo on Christmas Day this year.

No photo = no pav!

Don't let anyone tuck into the pavlova until the Christmas family group photo is done

You need to get this thing done and dusted before Christmas lunch or dinner! Once everybody is over-stuffed and half cut the chances of motivating yourself to take the photo, nevermind shifting everybody else into position, have just plummeted to about 1%.

Tell the kids there will absolutely be no pudding until you get this photo and watch them round everybody up and push them into position for you.

Get ready the day before

The time to figure out how to use your tripod or set up the self-timer on your phone is not when everybody is sitting on the couch watching you impatiently while their bubbles go warm and flat on the side table!

Sit. Down. Right. Now. And figure it out. Google how to use a self-timer on my Samsung phone. Then write down a little set of instructions for yourself and tape it to the Christmas tree!

If you have a camera and a tripod, great, you’re sorted. Make sure you know how to use the self-timer and see if you can figure out how to get your camera to shoot three pictures in a row.

Otherwise you’ll have to figure out beforehand what you could prop your phone up on, such as a shelf or a ladder.

Then all you have to do on the day is entertain everybody and get them smiling and laughing as you frantically run back and forth into the picture.

Get the adults in first

Nothing will get the whining and grumbling started faster than kids sitting around waiting, waiting, waiting while the another family gets jostled into place. By the time you get the last lot in position, the first lot have got bored and run away.

Instead make the kids wait. Utilise the power of reverse psychology.

Tell them they’re not allowed in yet until all the adults are ready. Then it’s going to be a race to all pile in at the same time and let them distribute themselves naturally.

Get a range of expressions

You’ve gone to all this trouble to get everybody together. Don’t just take one shot. There will always be the one that’s got their eyes shut or is looking away. Take lots.

Tell everybody to all hug in tight and lean towards the camera. Get them to shout “we’re hungry” – the ‘y’ bit turns up the corners of the mouth into a smile. Do a silly faces photo, followed by a serious faces photo. Get everybody to tickle the youngest person in their family.

This should all only take a few minutes and then release them. Don’t drag it out too much or you’ll make the job that much harder for yourself next year.

Shoot this baby outside

Photographing indoors is a challenge for any photographer so if the weather allows you to take your group photo outside please do it. There’s just way more light bouncing around and you’re going to get a much nicer picture.

If it’s a super-sunny perfect day set everybody up in the shade.

If you have to take your shot indoors position everybody in the brightest spot in the house in front of the biggest window you have. The couch isn’t always the best spot as it’s often against a wall in the darkest part of the room. Get someone to help you drag it forwards towards the window.

Still feeling out of focus? (pun fully intended :-))

If all your family is in our beautiful city of Dunedin for Christmas this year I'm a great family wrangler! I will happily come and coax, wrestle and sweet-talk everyone from the runaway 2-year-old, the belligerent uncle and the reluctant grandma into place for an awesome family photo. Please get in touch for more details!

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