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Capturing a Perfect Holiday Card Photo + Turning It into a Keepsake

November 17, 2017 / Learn, Create

Say Cheese! Okay, it’s a bit of a cheesy opening, but it is what we often say and hear when photos are taken. And with the holidays approaching, we’re all thinking about that family photo to put on our holiday cards. Which, if done well, then doubles as a great gift to Grandma or perfect update to the gallery wall in the den. And if you’ve ever cringed at the thought of going to a photographer’s studio or dreaded having to get up before dawn to gather on the beach for a sunrise shot, here are some clever, fun ways to make this year’s family photo truly your own, and one that family and friends will talk about for years!


There’s a phrase that applies to so much more than real estate – although real estate is what you want to think about in terms of where to take your photo. What’s the mood you want to set? Are you wanting to express a particular message? Is there a special spot you all enjoy or a special activity that will set the stage? My family and I happen to love being by the water, so whether it’s lakeside or the shore, or in a spot overlooking the coast, that’s usually where we gather for an outdoor shoot. However you do it, just keep in mind that it all comes down to location, location, location.

Family Portrait


And speaking of setting the stage… Bring along some props. It could be your kid’s soccer ball, your easel and palette (you could act out that you’re painting a family portrait), or any other item(s) that speak to who your family is. You can even include Fido! Or how about taking a shot that captures everyone in an “act” together. It can make the photo more entertaining and give little ones something to do so that boredom won’t get in the way (family photos take some time – it’s not a one-shot deal.

Goofy family portrait with props


Get playful with your clothes. I love to coordinate, rather than match, what we are going to wear for family pictures. (You can see this on television shows and in movies if you pay attention to what folks are wearing in particular scenes.) Sometimes I like to play with color palettes (you can find lots of color palette suggestions on Pinterest) and sometimes, even push the envelope with colors.

Color Combinations

You can always just say, “Wear your favorite outfit.” You might be surprised by how well it all comes together. And, it just might bring a level of relaxation and calmness because everyone’s just being his or her self.

Family Portrait


Although we never can predict the weather (no matter what the weather anchor says), I always try to plan ahead and choose a date when the weather is going to cooperate (if we’re doing an outside shoot) and ask everyone to choose outfits appropriate for where we’ll be. If we’re going to a photo studio, I talk to the photographer ahead of time to make sure what we have in mind is understood and to be sure we’re comfortable working together. After all, who wants the wrong result due to miscommunication?


Accomplishing a great family photo is no small feat. Why stop at just putting it on the Christmas card? Celebrate your attractively wrangled family with a place of prominence on the wall. Consider getting it printed as an 8”x10” or larger. Choose a unique picture frame for a stunning look, something that suits your style. Check out some of my favorite options:
Our Rustic Americana picture frames are great to couple with an outdoor shot! Woodsy or beachy, the authentic barnwood highlights the natural feel of the shot.

Engagement Portrait

Need something a little dressier? Perhaps something to compliment a photo of everyone in their finery at the most recent family wedding? Choose something more ornate (our Slimwoods picture frames are true pieces of art for family photos in which you’re all dressed up).

Family Portrait Framed in a Livingroom

Something unexpected? Try printing on canvas . You could even pair it with a trendy Canvas Floater picture frame.

Family Portrait Framed in a Livingroom on canvas

Have you captured an incredible family photo? Don’t be afraid to brag. We want to hear your tips and ideas in the comments. Or share it with us on social media by using the hashtag #FramingJoy.

Written by Roominate contributors Cheryl