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How Do You Find The Perfect Christmas Card Photo?

How Do You Find The Perfect Christmas Card Photo?

I love the holiday season. A lot. If Buddy the Elf had a long lost cousin, I might be her. This year is super exciting because Liam is starting to get into it, too – he knows who Santa is and is OBSESSED with the idea of people having lights on their houses and trees in their living rooms. We’re still more than a week from Thanksgiving but I’m already giddy with Christmas glee.

Liam-by-Christmas-TreeExcept for one minor detail…I don’t have a photo for our Christmas cards. I looked through the photo archives and there is really nothing that is workable. How is it that I have not one Christmas card-worthy picture of Liam’s adorable mug from over the past year? Perhaps the unskilled photographer is to blame? I also blame my iPhone. I use it so much to capture quick pictures that I rarely have the nice camera with me. When I do, it’s usually for a special occasion and from my experience, those seem to be the worst times to get a good picture of Liam. I’m thinking about staging a little photo shoot this weekend, although I tried that last year and it resulted in tears. Liam wasn’t too pleased either. I still love our picture from Liam’s first Christmas….if only we could get one just like that (plus a few more teeth) this year. He was much more easily manipulated to stay still and smile for pictures in those days. Sigh.

I’m really trying not to care as much about little things like this, but I love Christmas cards. I love getting them and displaying them and send them to all our friends and family and would hate to send out something that I don’t really love. So, parents with adorable Christmas card photos, do share: What’s your secret? Do you get professional shots? Plan a summer outing specifically for a Christmas picture? Bring your camera with you everywhere? Any tips for a successful amateur toddler photo shoot would also be appreciated!



  1. Profile photo of Amy

    Amy November 20, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I’m like you – the iPhone camera person. But luckily my husband is not. He typically brings out the big camera for special outings like fruit picking (strawberries, blueberries, apple), hiking, and other such “non holiday” occasions. We typically get at least one good photo this way – outside shots are always more forgiving if you ask me. There was one year we didn’t have one and staged my daughter. It came out okay but I didn’t love it as much. How about going out to a park, playing in the leaves, or even sneaking onto the playground at child care? You may get a good candid that way.

  2. ProgressiveMom November 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I didn’t have a good one last year of both my boys together and after a failed staging for photos, ended up using one of them in their halloween costumes. That totally stressed me out and I’m still not happy about the decision. The year before that, we did take them to a local park and made them pose and thanks to the rapid fire mode on our DSLR managed to catch one. I’m on board with NourishMom. Why not take him to the park or the beach or somewhere you love this weekend and just snap away with your “fancy” camera? You’re bound to get something, even if it’s an action shot…which let’s face it, probably captures his personality right now anyway. Good luck. Can’t wait to see it!

  3. Heather November 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I think you may be able to get some of our iPhone photos to work if you choose a card that has multiple photos that are a little smaller. At least, I hope that’s the case since I have the same challenge as you!

  4. Profile photo of Kate

    Kate November 21, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Thanks for suggestions! I think a trip to the park this weekend (with nice camera in tow) is in order!

  5. Lauren November 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    We are now approaching our third Christmas with our Liam, who shares your Liam’s excitement about Christmas lights and all things holiday related. I am fortunate enough that my best friend decided to become a photographer shortly before Liam was born and is amazingly talented at taking beautiful, artistic shots that also capture the beauty of my children. But now I’m in trouble because my past 2 Christmas cards have now set a very high standard…people comment on my Christmas cards all year long! Of course, the pressure is all on my friend, who I depend on to always outdo herself. We do two professional shoots per year: one informal outdoor family shoot in June and one Christmas shoot in nice holiday garb in November. With lots of out of state friends and family who rely on our Christmas cards to watch our kids grow, I think it’s well worth it (even if it wasn’t free). But I also make sure I “frame” the beauty of her work appropriately by spending a little more on our cards at Although this is what I do, I can honestly say that I have never received a photo holiday card that I DIDN’T love. Getting pictures of the children of friends and families is always exciting no matter the quality of the photo. Good luck!

  6. jayshreebhagat November 24, 2014 at 5:18 am

    always wanted to try making something diffrent with Christmas Cards but somehow didnt. will surely try this year with the beautiful idea.
    thnx for sharing

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