Taking holiday photos is a great way to capture a picture-perfect memory of your family year after year. Plus, these keepsakes also serve as a great holiday gift to friends and family.

Still, getting your photo taken for your family Christmas card not only can be time-consuming but also a bit trying, especially when you add young kids or even the family pet to the mix. Fortunately, we’re here to help. 

If you’re getting ready to plan your own holiday shoot, here are five tips to help you capture the perfect photos.

1. Start with the Perfect Setting

Before you start planning the rest of your shoot, it’s critical you find the perfect setting. That’s because where you choose to take your family photos will dictate the rest of your decisions, like the style of photography, your poses, and your outfits.

Luckily, Phoenix and Scottsdale are chock-full of stunning parks and attractions to serve as the perfect backdrop for your family holiday photos. Located in the heart of Phoenix, Papago Park offers an array of stunning outdoor locations perfect for a desert-themed shoot. With several accessible hiking trails and plenty of picnic areas, you’ll have no trouble finding a secluded spot away from other visitors.

If you’re dreaming of a more traditional holiday look for your photos, plan a road trip to the aspens of Northern Arizona, near Flagstaff. Take a drive up the mountains and you’ll leave the desert behind for snow-covered landscapes and towering pine trees.

2. Pick a Photoshoot Style

Once you’ve locked down your setting, it’s time to think about the style of your shoot. A formal family shoot with group poses and everyone smiling at the camera makes for a great keepsake. Or, you can opt for a more casual look, with your little ones playing or the family laughing together in relaxed, natural poses. 

Other style elements to consider are props like blankets, Christmas trees, and other décor. If you prefer to have a beautiful stand-alone backdrop, having a style in mind will also help you decide on the right photographer for the job.

3. Coordinate Outfits

Your family doesn’t have to wear matching sweaters to look great in your Christmas photos, but coordinated outfits are a great way to tie your looks together and make your photos look polished. 

The easiest way to coordinate outfits for the whole family is to choose a color scheme. That way, you can choose outfits that complement one another without having to match perfectly. For instance, for the holiday season, you might choose different outfits in festive tones like red, green, black, and white. Or, if you want a more formal look, stick to black and white with a few pops of color.

Don’t get so caught up in choosing outfits that look good that you opt for looks over comfort. From small children to grandparents, everyone will be more confident in clothing in which they feel comfortable.

4. Consider How You’ll Use Your Photos

Once finalized, how you plan to utilize your photos will dictate how they are taken. From poses to photo angles, whether you’ll be blowing up your photos to hang on the wall or sending them to family and friends on a holiday card is something you should consider ahead of time. 

If you plan to use your photos to create unique, personalized Christmas cards, browse options ahead of your photoshoot. That way, if you like a particular card design, you can make sure your outfits and photo style will coordinate well.

5. Plan Ahead for an Effortless Shoot

After you’ve considered your Christmas card style, selected your outfits, and decided on a setting, it’s time to prepare for the day of your shoot. There are a few things you can do to ensure your shoot goes as smoothly as possible. No matter what time of day you’re taking photos, make sure everyone in your group is well-rested. 

Eat a light meal or snack ahead of time so that growling stomachs don’t distract anyone. Additionally, try to keep the atmosphere fun and relaxed; even if your photos don’t turn out exactly how you planned, you’ll still leave with memories of your family that you’ll treasure forever.

Capturing the Perfect Family Christmas Photos

Your family photo session shouldn’t add more stress to the holidays and, instead, should serve as a fun and joyous opportunity for your family to ring in this special time of year. Put these tips to work to keep things fun and relaxed while still capturing the perfect shots of which you’ve long been dreaming!