Set the Scene for Your Christmas Card

Set the Scene for Your Christmas Card

You're getting ready to create your family Christmas card photo—how fun and festive! We all love to receive them, whether by traditional mail or social media. They just make the season bright. Make setting the scene for your Christmas card easy and successful, too, with these tips.

Keep It Simple

Setting a lovely scene for a Christmas card is fun and can be a simple project. You will want to focus on your smiling family and have enough holiday clothing and decorations to make it festive. Everything else is optional.

For an easy option, find a spot either inside or outside your home that gives a good backdrop. Maybe this is a front porch, a spot in your yard that will provide a nice background, or you can gather everyone around the fireplace or the living room sofa. If you are proactive in taking your Christmas card photo (always a good thing to ensure success and reduce stress), keep seasonal looks in mind. Evergreens always look like Christmas, even if you take the photo in October or November. A photo around your Christmas tree that you just decorated is always a lovely option. Having personalized Christmas stockings in the background is a nice touch. Thanksgiving weekend is a popular time to take Christmas photos for this very reason. Arrange people so that everyone’s face shows clearly in the photo and has good lighting. You want everyone to see your Christmas smiles. Keep age and height in mind when asking people where to sit or stand. Everyone should be comfortable while creating a visual “frame.” Usually, this means having taller people on the sides or back of the arrangement and smaller people or those sitting toward the middle and the front. Especially if you have a big family, plan this out in advance. It’s always nice to place significant others next to each other and have children close.

Coordinating Clothes

Even if everyone wants to wear their own thing (which is fine), make sure that colors and styles don’t clash. Perhaps everyone could choose their favorite Christmas sweater or their favorite flannel shirt, or you could suggest a specific color for the group. If you are a family that enjoys entertaining or regularly goes to multiple Christmas parties, try to coordinate holiday outfits (at least a bit) when you are shopping for them. A nice red top with neutral pants or a skirt can say “Christmas,” but also be versatile throughout the season.

Matching Outfits

For some serious fun, wear actual matching outfits. Sometimes this is easier than trying to coordinate outfits and have them “work” together. Have everyone wear the same turtleneck. Matching family Christmas pajamas were practically invented for this purpose. Even if you have family members who don’t enjoy being “matchy-matchy” consider this as an option. With a little planning, everyone gets a new pair of cozy pajamas that they can also enjoy on Christmas morning, and you have an instant “look” for your photo shoot. If you have college-age or young adults, perhaps offering to buy their pajamas as an early gift will help. After all, you are asking them for the favor of wearing them, so providing cozy pajamas for the occasion would be a nice gesture.

Who Will Take the Photo?

This may seem simple, but it is an important consideration. If your budget and schedule allow, consider using a professional photographer or inviting a friend over who is especially good with a camera and set scenes. Having someone else “in charge” of the actual photo can streamline getting it taken and make the process less stressful for everyone involved (and who wants something fun like a Christmas photo to produce stress?). If you are more of a DIY family when it comes to photos, no worries! Just make sure to figure out the technology in advance. Having a photo on a tripod (actual or makeshift) and a timer can yield great results. Another possibility is doing a family selfie for your Christmas card where someone holds the camera or holds it with the aid of a selfie extension tool. Whoever takes the photo, make sure to take many of them. It is fun to pick out the best one and then edit it a bit, and with plenty to choose from, you are bound to find just the right photo for your Christmas card. If you think one or two shots are enough, you could find yourself disappointed when you realize that someone’s eyes were closed, or the smiles don’t look natural. This is one of the great advantages of digital photography. Whether you use the camera on your phone or set up a full photoshoot, you can get a preview of the photo instead of having to wait for the film to be developed like we used to have to do.

Whatever choices you make for setting the scene for your Christmas card, enjoy the season and each other!


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