How to Capture & Frame the Perfect Holiday Photo

December 20, 2022 / Learn, Create

How do you capture joy? It’s like trying to hold water in your hands, right? And during the holidays, the joyful moments are genuine, unexpected, sometimes fleeting and if you’re especially unfortunate, some snap-happy-novice will try to capture the moments of joy for posterity before you’ve had your coffee or brushed your hair or when you’re mid-bite into the morning casserole or eyes-closed-posing-by-the-fireplace or worst of all? Caught at a terribly unflattering angle from below in bad lighting making a horrible face.

As the holiday season is upon us, let us help you with some tips on how to capture the perfect holiday photo (and turning it into keepsake).


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?


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

Anticipate the Moment

Have your camera on, focused and ready. Whether a child opening a gift, a group shot or a candid moment of real, true laughter, if you’re not prepared to snap the shutter when it happens, it’s gone. Moral of the story? Be ready for the moment and it’s yours forever. And snap away! Take lots of shots as the action is happening. You never know when you might capture a gem. You’ll never regret taking too many photos, only too few!

Barnwood Picture Frames

Lose the Flash

Camera flash can produce flat, cold light. And that’s the last thing we want when capturing such a warm, bright, happy time of the year filled with love and cookies made by Aunt Edna. Look for natural light. Whether the subjects are your second cousins or your 15 cats, a portrait near a window will produce a shot that’s much warmer and more complimentary.

Black Picture Frame with family potrait

Compose Creatively

Sometimes, to capture a magical moment, you gotta lose your center. Play with the rule of thirds and move your camera until the main subject is off to the side. Perhaps balance them with a beautiful, flickering candle or sparkling Christmas Tree in the background. For more on the rule of thirds, check out this article by Expert Photography

Canvas Picture Frame Now that you’ve captured the perfect photo, let’s turn it into a keepsake!


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.

Rustic Picture Frame with 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.