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November 24, 2023

Taking the Perfect Family Christmas Photo

Mastering the Family Photo in a Snap!


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Christmas photo session with two kids and a dog draped in Christmas lights.

iStockPhoto / evgenyatamanenko

As the holiday season fast approaches, you'll likely want to capture the memories ahead in beautiful family Christmas photos. These cherished mementos tell your family's story, and record a moment in time which you can treasure forever. However, getting that “picture-perfect” holiday shot isn't always as simple as it seems, especially with little ones (or the occasionally less-than-enthusiastic teen or family pet) involved. 

So, how do you go about getting that perfect Christmas pic that sums up the festive spirit in your family? Here are some Christmas family photo ideas from SANTA.COM to make taking your perfect family photo a snap!

Plan Ahead

Every masterpiece needs some planning, and your family photo is no exception. Planning your Christmas photoshoot is key. Decide what type of photo you want – candid, formal, quirky, casual? Picking a theme helps you coordinate outfits, select appropriate props, choose the location, and plan the composition. Plan the photoshoot ahead of time and inform your family about the details to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Match Outfits, but Not Identically

Family Christmas photo outfits can make or break your holiday photo. Avoid the outdated look of everyone wearing the same outfit. Instead, go for a color scheme, picking two to four complementary colors and encourage everyone to wear something within that palette. It creates harmony in the Christmas photo without being too ‘matchy.’

Location, Location, Location

Consider the aesthetic of your location. A perfect holiday background is key. Are you planning an outdoor photo with snow in the background, or will it be an indoor photo with your fireplace and holiday decor serving as a cozy backdrop? Your location might dictate not only your outfits but also the best time to shoot the family Christmas pics (for natural lighting purposes).

Lighting is Crucial

If you want a bright, warm Christmas picture, you’ll want plenty of light. Early morning or late afternoon offers the best natural light for outdoor photos, often referred to as the Golden Hour. For indoor shots, use the natural light as much as possible from windows and consider using additional light sources to eliminate shadows and create a soft, evenly distributed light.

Pay Attention to Composition

Don’t line everyone up like a firing squad; the best family Christmas photos often have layers and different levels. If your family is large, try placing some members seated or kneeling in the front, while others stand behind. Remember to keep the faces visible. 

Try to Make it Fun

The more natural and relaxed everyone looks in the family Christmas pictures, the better it will be. One great way to ensure this is to make the Christmas photoshoot fun! Incorporate some jokes or activities that can make everyone laugh and enjoy themselves. Not only will you end up with some great Christmas images, but you’ll also make some wonderful memories in the process.

Enlist Professional Help

If your budget allows, consider hiring a professional photographer for your Christmas photos. Their experience and skills can help bring your vision to life. They have the proper equipment and understand how to adjust for lighting, setting, holiday background, and pose everyone perfectly.

Edit Your Photos

Photo editing doesn’t necessarily mean making everyone look like supermodels. Subtle edits can correct lighting issues, enhance colors, and add a festive touch to your Christmas family photo. Several easy-to-use photo editing apps can help with this, or again, a professional photographer will likely provide this service. 

Taking the perfect family Christmas photo may take a little work and planning, but when you see the results, and you’re filled with that warm, festive glow, you'll find it was all worth it. 

Happy Holidays and happy snapping!


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