The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

DIY Family Photos Made Easy

November 26, 2014

Here are some popular photo tips for preparing and capturing fun family moments and other special events this holiday season:

Family taking selfie in front of a Christmas tree

1. Set the Scene:

The first step is to choose where to take the photo, such as a location that is familiar to your family, or that would provide a great backdrop, and where everyone can feel at ease. Some guidelines:

  • Remember that natural lighting, rather than artificial lighting such as from lamps, is your friend.
  • Avoid taking photos that have sunlight directly behind your subject to prevent washed-out images, and that have sunlight directly in front of your subject, to prevent pictures full of squinting people. If the day is bright and sunny, head for shaded area such as underneath a tree, on a covered porch or under an umbrella.
  • Keep the photo simple. For example, you could take a “selfie” with your smartphone or spread a blanket on the lawn for your subjects to sit on, for a backyard photo.

2. Take Candid Shots:

Some of the best photos are unplanned and unposed. To best capture such special moments, it helps to keep your camera or smartphone with you at all times; be discrete while taking photos of others; change the perspective; and involve children in the photo taking-process to benefit from their imagination and ideas.

3. Take Extra Photos to Play Safe:

Take more photos than you think you’ll need. For example, if you’re in the middle of a family shoot and someone is not ready to “say cheese” or for the “1, 2, 3” countdown, you might capture a silly face or a candid laugh at Grandpa’s joke. Today’s technology allows taking multiple shots at no extra cost, so go ahead and enjoy this benefit.

4. Dress for the Occasion:

Some family members choose to coordinate outfits or colors for family photos. If this is what you’re planning, you could choose a color palette to propose. For ideas, check out these family photo wardrobe color palette suggestions on Pinterest. Also, be sure that family members try on outfits beforehand to make sure that they’re comfortable in their selections; and that the outfits are flattering.

affordable DIY family photo ideas

5. Find Some Props:

Props can help add character to a photo and support the theme of your photo shoot. Something as simple as leaves or pumpkins could be a good choice for your needs. Or, you could go with larger props such as wagons, balloons and even confetti.

6. Set the Mood:

To help bring out the genuine personality of each family member, try singing, acting silly or making funny voices. The more fun you have, the more relaxed they’ll be, making for a more genuine portrait of your loved ones.

7. Look for Free Apps for Smartphones:

Some free photo-editing apps allow you to improve the quality of your family’s photographs by changing such components as brightness, contrast, focus, color saturation and even size. Other apps include automatic image enhancements that allow you to remove such features as red eyes, glare or unwanted backgrounds.

8. Decide Who Will Take the Photo:

For a professional approach, you may want to hire a professional photographer, but that can sometimes be costly. Or, you could take the family photo yourself or ask a friend to take it, or have a family photo swap with extended family members whereby you take turns photographing each other’s families.

9. Reduce Your Cost for Holiday Cards:

To help save money when creating, printing and sending holiday cards, you may want to take advantage of free, custom, print-at-home card templates available online. For printing your family’s photo or holiday cards, take time to check out in-store and online options for the best deal. Better yet, send digital holiday cards. They’re both eco-friendly and economical.


We invite you to share your family’s favorite holiday memories and photos with Gerber Life on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter!

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