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Taking family photos for the holidays is a tradition that I absolutely love to do because I am old school and love to send out holiday cards. Yes, this post will at first glance appear to be a nostalgic look at the holiday photos we’ve taken as a family over the years, but I’m hoping that it serves to inspire you for your own holiday photos.

Tips For Taking Holiday Photos

Taking holiday photos sounds like a super fun activity, until it isn’t. You don’t want to look at your holiday cards and resent the entire experience – you want to be able to look back fondly at the memories you made. Here are five tips for capturing a great family photo for your holiday cards that you’ll love for years to come:

#1: Get someone to take the photos for you. You can hire a professional photographer or even ask a friend to help you out.

#2: Use a tripod with a timer/remote for your camera. This is a great option for singles, couples or groups of older children and adults, but gets really complicated and tricky with little ones or pets. Sometimes you just need someone behind the camera shaking some bells or squeaking a toy!

#3: Lighting is everything! There is nothing worse than a poorly lit photo, and even with today’s photo editing apps, technology can only do so much to help you out. Remember, too, that snow reflects a lot of light so if you’re going for classic snowy photos, this can play to your advantage!

#4: Check the weather forecast! Looking to capture those perfect snowy moments with big flakes coming down? Check the forecast for the days you’re considering and then drill down and check the hourly forecast, too. You want to make sure the wind won’t be blowing your family all over the place.

#5: Pick a theme everyone is comfortable with. We’re not an ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ crew – we always opt for timeless ideas. As you’ll read below, picking a theme can be a ton of fun (although not necessary) but some themes need to be planned out.

Simple Holiday Card Photo Themes

The Matching Sweater Photo

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We’re not an “ugly Christmas sweater” family – we tend to stick to the classics like these sweaters from the Roots Cabin Collection. This gorgeous collection comes around every season and we’re all here for it! (P.S. there is a Summer Cabin Collection, too!). These items are festive and can be worn all season long, year after year, and they make for a timeless family photo.

The Matching PJs/Onesies Photo

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If you want to do anything in a matching onesie or adorable matching family PJs, I honestly recommend low-key stalking websites for when these items are released because they go really, really fast due to their popularity. These adorable onesies are from the Roots Park Plaid collection. It’s limited every year and features gorgeous buffalo plaid pieces for the whole family.

Photos In the Falling Snow

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Taking family photos in the falling snow is pretty magical, however, there are some important limitations to consider. Too much snow and you’re dealing with visibility issues for the camera. Too sparse of snow flakes and it just looks like rain. You also have a limited time before you and your family are covered in snow and/or wet from the precipitation. It also takes a lot of weather-app watching, but if you can be flexible, you will have some really magical photos!

Kids in a Classic Sled

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I don’t know if it’s just the Canadian in me or what it is, but there is something so special about this wooden sled from Canadian Tire that screams ‘Classic Canadiana’ in the way that a Norman Rockwell painting encapsulates the perfect holiday scene. (and yes, I am 6 months pregnant here!)

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Being able to purchase a sled for my daughter just like the one I had as a kid (and likely my mother before me) felt incredibly special and worth capturing!

On-Ice Photos For Hockey Lovers

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Hockey is a huge part of our family. My husband plays hockey, I used to play hockey and we are NHL Season Ticket Holders, too. We also watch the World Junior Hockey Championships over the holiday break every year so to take some on-ice photos just felt right!

Cute Couple Photos

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Just because we didn’t have kids yet didn’t mean we didn’t want some fun holiday photos of just the two of us. To be honest, we had someone take these pics for us because we wanted to have photos of the two of us together that weren’t from our wedding or of us wearing Calgary Flames jerseys!

In Front of That Giant Christmas Tree

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Every place has that Christmas tree (or a few of them if you live in a large centre). We took these photos by the skating rink at Olympic Plaza in Calgary in a bit of a snowstorm – and it was amazing. I loved capturing our family in this moment in time.

Final Tip: Never underestimate how wonderful a candid photo can be!

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Happy Holidays! Good luck with your family photos this season!! xo

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