This post is sponsored by Minted. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
How many years has Thanksgiving snuck up on you and you’ve realized you forgot to find a photographer to take your family Christmas card photo again? Well, let’s just say that’s been the story of my life for the last few years.
Having three birthdays right at Thanksgiving time really messes with my to-do list and I’ve learned to just go with the flow and rather than stressing about Christmas card pictures, so we just do it ourselves and have fun with it.
After taking our annual Christmas card photo a few weeks ago and ordering our Christmas cards literally the very next day, I knew I should share my best tips for how we get it done quick and painless.
This is the 3rd year we’ve got our Christmas card photos from Minted and every year I am so impressed with the quality of our cards and can’t wait to send them out to everyone.
This year we went with these simple flat cards on the front with just one picture and then a year in review on the back. I love that Minted gives you the freedom to choose from so many different layouts and mix it up for the front and the back.
After taking approximately 60 photos in the span of 5 minutes, this is what we ended up with.
I love how laidback and fun it is and of course, sweet Maggie, is the center of attention. We all just love making her giggle.
I love reading what other families have done in the past year, so this year I thought I’d do a year in review to highlight some of what we were up to on the backside.
Tips for Taking DIY family Christmas photos
With little kids, you never know how they are going to cooperate when it comes picture time and even though you plan perfectly around naptimes and meal times, it always seems to not work out…naps get thrown off or they refuse to eat lunch. Something always happens.
Doing the photos at home, on our own time, is my favorite. We get fun, natural photos, in our element. They aren’t nervous around some photographer they barely know.
Here are my best tips for taking your own Christmas card photos.
There’s no shame in the bribery game. We totally bribed our children with ice cream this year and said if they smiled cute, they’d get ice cream after dinner. It 100% worked.
2. 10 Second Delay
This is a must! Set your camera to a 10-second delay and get ready to work those giggles out about 1 second before the camera starts clicking.
I always try with some more serious ones where we’re looking at the camera smiling, but after approximately 2.5 seconds of that, the kids are over it and we have to pull out the other tricks like tickling and silly faces. I never regret having fun with it.
And that brings me to my next tip…
3. Make It Fun
Don’t stress about perfect smiles or everyone looking at the camera. Natural photos where we’re goofing off always turn out to be our favorite anyways.
Sidenote: Christmas jammies always make things more relaxed and fun. Our Christmas jammies are these ones from Burt’s Bees this year.
If you have a tripod, use it so that you can get the camera at the right height and angle for where you’re taking the photo. If you don’t have a tripod, just prop your camera on a stack of books. I’ve been known to shove toys or blankets under the lens to get the camera set at the right angle.
If you don’t have a camera, phones these days are so fancy you could totally just use your phone too for pictures.
When you set the 10 second delay, most cameras do a burst type shoot where it will then take 10 shots after the 10 second delay. Take advantage of this. Try to not get the kids too riled up that they turn out blurry or they’re running around, but remember even if you just can convince the kids to do 3 bursts with a short break in between each one, that’s only about 1-2 minutes of picture time.
If you have older kids, let them help with the picture taking. My 4 year old loves pressing the button to take the shot and then she’s more invested in seeing how it turns out so tends to do better with the actual photo taking.
Natural light is always better. If you don’t have natural light or need to take the photos at night when daddy is home from work, use a large lamp or flood light. If you have white ceilings, point the light source to the ceiling and the light will bounce off and look more natural in the space and less harsh.
If that doesn’t look great you can also hang a white sheet between the light source and where you’re taking the picture to soften the light and get a more even coverage. This is one of my best tips for taking your own professional looking photos.
It really doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Just have fun with it. Christmas cards are one of my favorite traditions and I love seeing them start to arrive in the mail.
Are you ready to order cards? Check out all the options Minted has to offer.