5 styling tips for holiday photos

The family photos you take for the holidays might be the only snapshots your extended family members and friends see all year, so you want them to provide a beautiful and memorable representation of you, your partner, and your kids. But this can be difficult to accomplish when you show up for your session looking like a motley crew of unkempt miscreants. Here are just a few styling tips that will have you looking your best and ensure great family holiday photos.

styling tips for family holiday photos

  1. Get pretty in advance. The worst thing you can do is take the kids for a haircut the day before your holiday family photo session. There are certain preparatory steps you’ll want to take in advance if you want everyone to look their best on picture day. Haircuts and color should be done 1-2 weeks in advance. And if you or your teens want to get facials to clear up acne, make appointments for about five days in advance so your skin has time to heal and redness disappears. You might even do professional hair and makeup styling the day of the shoot as a special treat for family members, not to mention guaranteed professional looking photos.
  2. Plan your outfits. You could let everyone show up for your family photo in whatever ensembles they choose, but you might end up with one kid wearing a fancy holiday dress while the other sports a grungy band tee and torn jeans. If you want a cohesive look that is visually appealing, think about putting together matching outfits. Just be careful not to get too matchy-matchy. While wearing white, black, or colored tops can be attractive, wearing the exact same garments from head-to-toe is bound to be overkill.
  3. Avoid holiday hallmarks. Many families have done holiday sweaters, Santa hats, and backgrounds featuring Christmas trees, menorahs, strings of lights, reindeer antlers, and other traditional holiday symbols. But these are the things that awkward family photos are made of (just check out AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com). If you want a beautiful holiday snapshot, consider getting the kids in their snow gear and heading outside for some photos in the falling show. A candid, seasonal shot might be more fun and authentic than the traditional portrait experience.
  4. Let kids participate. Kids can be problematic when it comes to holiday photos, especially if you shove them into stiff formal wear. Instead, ask for their opinions where their outfits are concerned. Allowing them to select a shirt in the right color palette or choose accessories can go a long way towards helping them feel like they’re part of the process.
  5. Talk to your photographer. Whether you’re heading to the Sears photo studio or you’ve opted for a professional studio like Alyssa Albers Photography, it’s not a bad idea to call in advance and get some advice on a dress code. For example, if you’re going to use a green screen and add a digital background after the fact, you definitely don’t want to wear green. Ditto on white outfits with a white backdrop, and so on. Professionals who take snapshots day in and day out can offer the best advice on how to dress for family photos so that your pictures come out fantastic every time.


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