Sneak preview & some tips on taking your own family photos

I thought for this post I’d share a sneak preview from another recent holiday card session & also pass along some photo tips for those of you who plan to shoot your own this year. (Of course I would love it if y’all would just hire me to come take your picture, but since that’s not realistic, here are my thoughts on how to make your own shots better).
1. Go outside. Go outside. Go outside. I can’t count the number of cards I get where people shoot indoors. Unless you are a pro with a home studio (in which case you are probably not reading my tips here), you probably do not have adequate indoor light for a great shot. Cloudy days are awesome for photos as the clouds diffuse the light. If you don’t have clouds, take your pics earlier in the morning (if you can wake up & get photo ready) or later in the afternoon. Avoid the mid-day sun as it can cast harsh shadows & make you squint.
2. Try a few different poses. Just like seats at the dinner table, a lot of families have their “go to” group shot arrangement. This is great if you need to take a fast shot while out on the town, but if you have a few minutes, play around. Sit down. Stand up. Switch sides. You might surprise yourself with something you like better.
3. Fix your hair & makeup. Even you, men. Everyone looks better with a little help. I’m not suggesting guyliner or anything, just run a brush through your hair, please. For everyone, use eyedrops right before a shoot. This will help your eyes be sparkly & bright. For women, my basics are foundation (this can be a mineral powder, but even out your complexion somehow), mascara & lipstick (real lipstick with some color – it can be a pale pink, but you need a little pigment. If gloss is your look, wear it over a little real lipstick).
4. Keep the kids happy. This is not the time to be judicious with snacks. Or to say no to a cookie if you’re facing meltdown city. Just keep the kids happy for the short time you’re doing this.

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