DIY Family Christmas Card Photos

Tis the season for forcing your household to take holiday photos that show you are the jolliest bunch of…you know…this side of the nuthouse. I take a lot of photos but there is something about getting those Christmas card shots that always turns into blood, sweat, and tears. When we took our family photos this past weekend I cut my finger, Chris had his eye poked, and I bribed Celeste with some extra playground minutes.

While I can’t guarantee I can take away the stress from trying to get 1 (ONE) nice photo, I can share how I get our DIY family photos.


First, you need to make sure you have some simple pieces of equipment to grab the perfect photo.

  1. Your phone! I am a Google Pixel gal. But I’m sure iPhones work just fine. (Except they aren’t nearly as innovative or customizable but that’s just me!) I also recommend using your back-facing camera.
  2. I use a lightweight but durable tripod that is made to hold a cell phone. For most holiday card-esque poses, you’ll want your tripod at eye level.
  3. The next critical piece of equipment is a Bluetooth shutter remote. Some tripods come with one. You want something small enough to subtly hide in your hand. You can connect it to your phone and take some practice shots to make sure its working as planned.
  4. If you are taking photos inside, a ring light will ensure you have the perfect lighting. Once you’re finished rolling your eyes and actually use it for the first time, you’ll realize what a big difference good lighting can make! If you are taking photos outside, schedule your photos for early morning or evening when the sun is not directly overhead. Even better if its a cloudy day.
  5. Last but not least is a good editing app to adjust the light and detail. I use Adobe’s Lightroom and they have a freemium version.


On to the fun part– family wardrobe. First, I take a piece of clothing and build the other pieces around it. This year, it was my green sweater with frill details. Next, I thought about the pieces we already had and started laying them out. I tried a few combinations until I found a palette that worked.

I was not going for perfection (aka: spending $$ on clothes for all of us), just coordination. I landed on this color palette with earthy greens, gold accents, and cream.

Next, I decided to keep everyone in dark jeans. In a perfect world, I would have wanted matching cognac/brown shoes but let me reiterate that DIY should not break your bank. I only purchased one top to make this come together. I landed on the following outfits. Celeste also had a shirt with frill detail and I incorporated a pattern.



I’ve figured out a few poses that work for our family of three.

  1. Sitting. A few tips for this pose, make sure that legs are not straight-on or your feet will look huge. (In the example below from 2019, I should have had Chris angle his body.) Try to keep angles in the frame, for instance, bent knees and elbows or sitting at an angle as opposed to dead straight.
  1. Standing Pose: I had Chris hold Celeste and I angled by his side. Talk to each other, laugh, and try to enjoy the moment for some cute shots!
  2. Props: I brought a blanket and had us wrap it around our shoulders. I’ve seen cute ideas utilizing wreaths or other Christmas props
  3. Just Have Fun: Don’t underestimate just taking shots while you’re chatting and joking around with one another!

Final Results

  • holiday-photo-pose-idea
  • Family-Playing-Pose
  • family-pose-ideas-standing
  • classic-family-pose
  • Family-hug-pose
  • family-hug-2

And that’s a wrap! Now to choose which photo to use in our Christmas cards. Pretty pleassse help me out and comment below.

2 thoughts on “DIY Family Christmas Card Photos

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