Thinking 3 Steps Ahead for Christmas (And 6 Tips for Better Photos with Kids)

Thinking 3 Steps Ahead for Christmas (And 6 Tips for Better Photos with Kids)

One of my goals for 2012 is to actually send out Christmas cards this year. I realized in October that it was time to get going if that was actually going to happen.

Ordering cards is a breeze, but before I could even think about ordering, I needed to get the pictures taken, get them from the photographer, and update my outdated Christmas card list. (Can you tell I’m trying to be better about thinking 3 steps ahead?)

Of course you don’t need a professional photographer to take your family photos. But we hadn’t had professional portraits done in years, and the Christmas Card goal reminded me that it was something I actually wanted to do. I wanted at least a few good photos where we were all in the picture!

I decided to call a talented local photographer who’s also an old family friend (and a real sweetheart). I knew I’d be comfortable working with her–and that my kids would feel the same way. (That’s important for family photos!) I told her my idea and my time frame. She thought we could do it. I emailed her an inspiration photo and she gave me some tips, and we set a date for a mini-session.

So now we have these gorgeous photos. I wasn’t real excited about carving out time in the busy month of October for a photo session…but I’m so glad I made the effort.

The next step is to design the cards and place the order. I’ve decided to go with Paper Coterie this year, because I’ve heard wonderful things and the prices are good. (Anyone have any experience with them?) I’ll share pics when I have the cards in hand.

And, in hopes that your own family photos may go more smoothly, I offer you these tips for getting better family pictures.

6 tips for better pictures with kids

Tips for better professional photos with kids

1. Prep your kids for the photo session, and consider their personalities when you do: my kids freak if they know for days a photo session is coming. Some kids freak if they don’t find out till the last minute. Think about what kind of notice your own kids need.

2. Dress with care, considering their personalities. My girls were dying to wear fancy dresses. My sons did NOT want to dress up. At first, I was afraid their outfits would “clash.” But you know what? That’s what our real life looks like every single day: dressy girls, casual boys. So we went with it.

3. Hire a friendly, talented photographer and tell them exactly what you want. Then do whatever they tell you to do.

4. Remember that it takes FOREVER to get everyone ready. Plan for it.

5. If you care about how you will look in the photo (and I’ll bet you do), leave enough time for to get yourself ready, too.

6. Bring lots and lots of altoids (or whatever treat induces good behavior in your kids).

Got any great tips for better family photos? Share them in comments!

All photos courtesy Jenna Maddux Photography. If you’re in the Louisville area, I highly recommend her.

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  1. Linda says:

    How timely! I was just thinking how I need to get myself in gear and compose our Christmas letter. I like the lights draped over your family. Very lovely!

  2. Your kids are so cute! The pictures are lovely, and I appreciate the tips – I’m in the process of trying to coordinate getting family pictures made. So far kids being sick have kept it from happening, but I’m hopeful we’ll get it done soon.

  3. Jillian Kay says:

    I love all your pictures, especially the one of you and your son.

    I have been thinking about Christmas cards. I’ve been uploading pictures like mad actually, because Snapfish and Shutterfly usually have good black Friday sales and I want to be ready.

  4. Alia Joy says:

    We need to take family pictures so badly. I don’t know if we even have one since our 3 year old was born. Or our 7 year old for that matter. Good reminder. I need to get on this.

  5. Leanne Penny says:

    Great Advice! I am still not sure that I am ready for cards again this year, but photos I may be able to do. I have a free package with our favorite photographer so … icing on the cake.

    Your family is lovely and I love the Christmas light idea, LOVE LOVE!

  6. Elizabeth Kane says:

    You have a beautiful family. 🙂

    And I love the way the lights are intertwined between all of you. And the light being held in your daughter’s hand. Never thought about what a great prop that could be. Seems much easier to deal with than tinsel.

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