The easy guide to gorgeous christmas card portraits
Every year, I love “subjecting” my kids to a christmas card portrait, I’m pretty sure it’s the highlight of their year as well ;). Now I’ll be honest, as a portrait photographer – the few months that lead up to Christmas are my busiest months of the year, so unless I actually manage to get organised in September (um nope) it’s normally a mad dash at the last minute with bribes a plenty ensuring the kids cooperate. This year was of course no different 🙂 Inspiration came from a $5 set of battery operated twinkle lights. Add in a few hanging glass terrariums (both super cheap at Kmart) and the idea was born – have the kids hold the glowing glass lanterns out like they were out searching for some christmas magic. Simple. Actually it really was!
I wanted it to be darkish so the lanterns would glow nicely, so I waited until just before sunset before shooting. The location I chose was our backyard – and the little passage behind the studio (kinda like a back shed) was perfect. I simply had the kids stand at the very edge of the passage (right where the pink x is). There’s lovely soft light falling on their faces but the back ground was dark and moody. Just what I had in mind.
Now the fun part – the kids were suitably motivated with their bribes to wear the clothes I suggested and to “mostly” do what I wanted in the shoot. Here’s what I also do to help it all go smoothly.
- Let them choose an element of the session. Kids like to feel in control of something, so by choosing two hat options I was happy with and allowing them to select their favourite the wardrobe choices went (almost) unnoticed. Santa hats it was (elf ears were the other option).
- Don’t have a really rigid plan in mind, have a good idea but don’t be too fixated on it. They might not be able to achieve exactly what you imagine and you’ll end up getting frustrated and angry – and then it all gets messy and any co-operation goes out the window. Let them be themselves. Plan, but be flexible.
During these shoots I always take a few on their own as well as together, I keep these shots for our album. The image together goes on our christmas cards and tags. I buy plain kraft tags and simply glue the photo on. One more thing to remember with composition. I’ve left a fair amount of space to the top and right of the main shot – I like this – but I also knew I’d be putting a christmas message over the photo without covering anything important. I’m pretty happy with this years shot.
While the kids were still having fun I had them pose in the back of the garden as well – which one do you prefer?