Choosing the perfect holiday card is a cinch on Cardstore.com, but taking the perfect holiday photo for said card? That's a different story. Did you forget to book the professional photographer that sunny day on the beach? Is your hair and makeup artist on vacation? Fear not! Here are our top tips for taking relaxed and real holiday photos at home, so your card can make it to the top of the mantel.
1. Pick your spot. Look for somewhere with great natural light and not too much detail going on in the background. You also want to find a place where you and your family can be comfortable hanging out for a few minutes - comfortable people make for happy photos! Is your tree already up? That's a great backdrop for a holiday greeting!
2. Go minimal. If you're standing in front of a wall, take down any artwork or mirrors behind you - just make sure the picture hooks aren't visible! The focus should be on your faces, not on decor behind you.
3. Deck the halls! Props are always fun for holiday photos, and can help you and your fellow 'models' look more relaxed in the pictures. Have each person hold an ornament, drape a fir garland across the whole group, or get all tangled up in a string of lights. Feel free to be silly! You're posing for your friends' mantels, not for the cover of Vogue.
4. Lighting is key. If you can't get great natural light, make sure you have a lot of good lamps around you to make the photo as high-quality as it can be. Using flash can wash out faces, and add all sorts of red-eye issues. If your light is too low, on the other hand, your photos might be grainy or out of focus. If you need, take the shade off a lamp or two (out of the shot) to help with brightness.
5. Take a million photos. The best way to get good photos is to have a lot to choose from! It's also helpful to take a photo of your location before calling your family in - that way you can see how the space looks in the frame, if you need more lighting, or if that one throw pillow needs fluffing.
Looking for photo inspiration? Browse the photo cards at Cardstore and check out #TopoftheMantel for some sweet ideas. You may find this year's card while you're at it!