If there’s one thing we prioritize every year, it’s a holiday photo of the family. There’s something magical about it. The backdrop of deep reds and greens, with a touch of a festive sparkle. We schedule it in advance to use for our holiday cards and make sure we get copies of the photo printed which we display to show how much our kids have changed year-over-year. 

Below are a few things to consider before-and-after scheduling your shoot to make the most of your investment. 

  • Do your research:
    Photographers have so many different styles. Spend some time on their website to see their portfolio. Look specifically for their family photos—their creative approach to engagement shoots doesn’t mean they know how to get your kindergartener’s attention or, more importantly, get them to smile! What is their pricing for the shoot and what sort of photos do you receive? Photographers can give you a set of ten back or they could give you hundreds. What is their turn-around time? Do they retouch? Many don’t, so double-check if that’s a priority for you!
  • Opt for your own props for extra holiday cheer:
    Some photographers will have a set holiday scene for the shoot — many going so far as to change them up every year. Is there anything fun you want to do to make the photo even more reflective of your family’s personality? Maybe you bring your kid’s teddy bear or their Frosty the Snowman toboggan for an outside shoot. Something comfy and familiar could go a long way in getting them in a good mood for the photos. Santa hats always add a fun pop of color, too! Even if you don't end up using them, it doesn't hurt to grab a few things that might work, just to have as options when you arrive at the shoot.
  • Get strategic with the shoot time:
    You know your kid(s) best. When is their best time of day? That’s the time you want to target scheduling your session. For most, morning is the way to go. They’re fresh (and you aren’t at the mercy of if they actually manage to get in a good nap or not).
  • Discuss clothes, and the photo shoot in general, with your kids early:
    While your family might not opt for fully coordinate outfits, there’s typically some sort of pre-planning and selection involved. And they likely can’t wear their favorite ripped jeans or PJMasks pajamas for the occasion. Sit the clothes out, perhaps hanging on their closet door so they can see them in advance, and give them a chance to ask questions. It can help if it’s something they haven’t worn yet (that newness factor can work like a charm!) but the same approach works with clothes they have worn.
  • Considering taking a change of clothes:
    You know your kids best! If your kid will be snacking en route or likely to take a stumble somewhere along the way, perhaps you should dress them comfy to travel and change them when you reach the destination. This will ensure you don’t have the perfect outfit and them not able to use it when it matters the most.
  • Don’t be afraid to change it up:
    If your kids aren’t feeling it, seize the moment to reset. Pull out the phone for your custom holiday Spotify playlist to lighten the mood. Kids not willing to smile? Pull out all the stops. If it’s tossing them gently in the air or giving them a big hug, do it. Most of the time, no one knows how to make your kids smile like you!

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