My Christmas picture is done and I am happy! It is a lot work for me to organize everyone to get a nice portrait taken. This year, in honor of our 25th wedding anniversary, we had a professional portrait taken . It was great knowing that our Christmas picture was done in August.
We purchased the disc of photos from the photographer, so we are able to edit and print many different variations of the family. I have a favorite of the entire family, one of the girls, one of the boys, and then one of the four youngest girls, and a last one of Eby and Little Man. I’ll be sure to share them all here, but for today, I want to encourage you to plan your family holiday picture. Ask a friend to take it, schedule a date with a photographer, or plan to do it yourself; just get it done.
In 2005 my friend, Amy, and I waited until November to take each other’s family photos. The day was so rainy that we had to set up a “studio” in my family room. After struggling with poor lighting, we swore we would do it earlier in 2006, and we did!
In 2006, on October 1st, our two families packed picnics and went the University Arboretum where we took one of my favorite family pictures.
Here are some tips you may find useful:
1. Choose a day and time when your youngest children are most likely to be happy. This year we took our photo just after an early dinner. It was August so it was still light.
2. If you have big kids, schedule it well in advance. I sent multiple email reminders to my older crew.
3. Choose a unified clothing theme. It can be formal or casual, holiday-ish or not, funny or serious, but you should look cohesive. In general, stay far away from patterns, stripes, or excessively fussy clothing. Our 2008 photo is a good example of how to hide some color problems; Rusty converted the image to sepia. My friend Joy always sends a gorgeous photo; last year they wore jeans with black shirts. Some other friends dressed in jeans with red and green shirts which looks very cheerful on our bulletin board.
4. Go outside where you won’t need your flash or where it will only add a little pop of light. Alternately, place your children near a window that will shine some indirect light on them. You don’t want bright light, just soft illumination.
5. Take lots, and lots of pictures. Back when we all used film, it was more costly to shoot multiple rolls, but now that nearly everyone has gone digital, there is no reason not to shoot dozens of shots. The more people you have in the family, the more photos you should shoot.
6. Put small treats in your pockets to keep the youngest children happy. My little ones like Tic Tacs which don’t make a mess or look big in their mouths.
7. Plan a special reward for a job well done. This year we came home and had ice cream sundaes to celebrate.
It is a lot of work to get a decent family picture, but it is worth the effort to chronicle the changes and growth of your family. I have a future project that has been brewing in my mind for a few years. I plan to go through my negatives and find every family Christmas picture beginning in 1987, the year Sweet Pea was born, and print them all as 5 X 7’s. Then I will frame them in sequence and hang them in my house. It will bless me every time I look at them and I think it will encourage our guests to see how our family has grown over the years.
Have fun, and get that picture take
n! You will be so glad to have it off your to-do list when the holidays arrive.