Family Christmas card by Knoxville family photographer Michael Broyles

Christmas Card


Tis the season…for turkey, pumpkin pie, and Christmas cards?  Although Christmas is well over a month away, November is an ideal time to take some time to plan your annual Christmas card photo.  In fact, the Thanksgiving holiday provides a perfect excuse to gather your family and friends for a photo shoot that celebrates the season.

Why make the time for a family Christmas card photo?  Just like the holiday itself, Christmas photos provide a chance to reflect on your family and spend some quality time together.  Over time, you will be able to look back and see how your children have grown or reminisce about holidays spent with loved ones who have passed on.  These are the same reasons why relatives and friends look forward to and treasure these seasonal snap shots.

Of course, taking the same old family photo year after year can get a bit boring.  If you need some inspiration, look no further than the following tips for sprucing up your Christmas card photos.

Dress for the Season

Nothing says Christmas more than pulling out your best red, white, and green holiday wear.  But before you resort to another ugly Christmas sweater photo, consider these ideas for changing things up.

  • Dress up as your favorite Christmas movie characters. From the Griswold clan in Christmas Vacation to the perennially favorite A Christmas Story, donning a “costume” for your picture can be a great way to mix things up.
  • Stage a “white out”. We may or may not have a white Christmas, but your family can get in the spirit by wearing their best white outfits, preferably with a (mostly) white or neutral background.  Add pops of festive color like red Santa hats or golden tinsel to add interest and a touch of whimsy.
  • Have a Christmas slumber party. Break out the festive pajamas!  Nothing says casual and cozy family winter fun than a picture of you and the crew “enjoying” Christmas morning.  Bonus: no need to force your kids to wear that dress or neck tie they hate.

Make Your Backgrounds Bright

Nothing is more magical this time of the year than the soft glow of Christmas lights.  From pure white or blue to multi-colored or twinkling, Christmas lights add ambiance, warmth, and sometimes even a touch of elegance to a setting.  A simple way to dress up a family photo is to hang white lights in the background and dim the light in the foreground to create a festive glow.  Want to go a little less conventional?  Wrap your subjects in Christmas lights, or if you are taking a photo of a large crowd, drape and weave lines of lights around the group.

Trim the Tree

Christmas trees are popular props for Christmas card photos, and rightly so.  They are symbols of the anticipation and magic of the season.  For something a little different, try one of these plays on the classic Christmas photo.

  • Have your family’s picture taken at a Christmas tree farm or lot (preferably in front of the tree your family has chosen for the holiday).
  • Pose your family in front of a festive, green outdoor scene such as a doorway lined with pine boughs and bedecked with a Christmas wreath.
  • Take your ornaments outdoors and hang from a tree in your backyard (or on location at a photo shoot).

Classic, whimsical, edgy, or just plain silly, family Christmas photos are a fun, yet personal, way of showing off your holiday spirit.  Whether you take the photo yourself or seek out a professional photographer, get creative and try something different for your photo this year.  You never know…you just might discover a new family tradition!

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