Put the Happy Back in your Holidays: Stress-free ways to get the perfect family photo

Put the Happy Back in your Holidays: Stress-free ways to get the perfect family photo

A beloved tradition. The family Christmas card! A picture you can look at decades from now in your nursing home, and a way for loved ones to watch your children grow. No matter where they may live.

But boy can it be a challenge to get them.

“I think the reason holiday photos are more stressful is because people tend to send them to everybody they know and it’s the one time a year they do send photos to people so they want to be perfect,” explained local photographer and owner of Amen Photography Ari Nordhagen.

Professional photographers are a one stop shop during the busy holiday season, but it might be too late to get a sitting this year if you don’t already have one booked. Don’t throw in the tartan towel yet, though. There are plenty of ways to take a great family photo with just your phone!

“Portrait mode is the number one tip,” said Nordhagen.

If you’ve got an iPhone 7 or 8 Plus, this feature is on your phone and basically does the work for you. Be sure to pay attention to it’s instructions to step away from the photography subject or to focus a feature of your photo.

If you don’t have the portrait mode feature, there are several tricks and tips Ari has for taking a photo no matter the device.

She recommends taking a photo outdoors as opposed to indoors and during the day, as lighting is best. As for a location, she recommends a local park or Christmas tree farm for that extra festive touch! Be cautious of places with distractions. No one wants a Christmas tree coming out of their head or dogs running in the background of the photo!

When you arrive, get your participants relaxed before you start snapping away.

“I usually ask the kids to tell me a joke because if they think about a joke it makes them laugh,” said Ari.

If kids are involved, be quick. Don’t stop taking photos.

She added, “you don’t have a lot of time. Usually the kids expire within 10 minutes. Snap like crazy because then you’ll find the one or two out of the 15 or 100 you take! “

To gain a few more minutes, have a reward waiting for the kids for being good sports.

Most importantly, though have fun and stay calm. If you are nervous, chances are it will rub off on your kids, spouse and extended family.

When taking photos on your phone, Ari recommends browsing the app store for applications that can help enhance your photos. Also, many local stores that offer one hour photo have an option to do so through their own phone app, so you can save time ordering the photos ahead of time and not making two runs to the store.

If you don’t feel like you can fit a holiday photo in to your schedule this holiday season, grab a couple of your favorite photos from the past year and create a collage photo. Many websites now give you the opportunity to create your own photo card with multiple pictures.

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