- History of the Christmas Family Photoshoot
- Why We Still Like the Christmas Family Photoshoot
- What To Look for In a Family Portrait Photographer
- How To Do a Christmas Family Photoshoot Yourself
- Other Recommended Photography Gear
- What To Look For In a Photography Lighting Kit
- 4 Photography Lighting Types You Need to Know
- What To Look For In Professional Photography Lighting
Photo by gorodenkoff via iStock
It’s time for your Christmas family photoshoot! Where are you going to go for yours? Or will you do your family’s Christmas photoshoot yourself?
Since we’re right at the traditional start of that season, I thought a fun look at the Christmas family photoshoot was in order.
Let’s quickly look at the history of Christmas photo shoots and explore a few tips for finding the ideal photographer for your holiday photos (or taking the photos yourself).
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents:
History of the Christmas Family Photoshoot
Photo by FG Trade Latin via iStock
I find the history behind photography trends so interesting. The history of the Christmas family photoshoot is tied up with the history of Christmas cards.
The first known Christmas card sent from one person to another dates back to the early 1600s. There may have been Christmas cards before then, but it’s hard to tell how widespread the practice was before the first commercially available versions came out in about 1840.
Those early cards were made in Great Britain; the earliest American-made cards were produced in about 1870. The British Royal Family started a tradition of using family images, either paintings or photographs, for Christmas cards.
With the advent of popularly available photography in the late 1800s (thanks, George Eastman!), regular people could include personal images in greeting cards and photo postcards.
At some point, it became a regular thing to schedule a Christmas photoshoot to include a photo of our family in a greeting card. I have photo albums with Christmas family pics dating back to the 1920s. I also remember families doing a Christmas photoshoot whenever they went on vacation, which is why I have old Christmas cards showing friends at the beach during summer vacation.
Why We Still Like the Christmas Family Photoshoot
Photo by monkeybusinessimages via iStock
We still like these types of pics because they hold good emotions and good feelings. Whatever time of year we do it, a Christmas photoshoot of ourselves, our friends, our families, or colleagues makes us feel good, and we want to share them.
We share a lot of images now using electronic communication. We send emails, create web pages, post on our personal blogs, or share on social media platforms.
Many of the images we share and see from others are not professionally produced but tend to be fun ideas or centered around important events.
A good family portrait, professionally done, either formal or informal, is a great way to get an image we would be proud to send out to others. By the way, family Christmas cards are still a big thing. We can take the images from our Christmas family photoshoot and input them into a kiosk at a local store or upload them to an online printing service and get our very own perfect family Christmas card.
What To Look for In a Family Portrait Photographer
Photo by Funkey Factory via iStock
If you want to have your own personal images of your family for making a family Christmas photo greeting card, there are two main ways to get this done.
Both of them involve a Christmas family photoshoot in which you and the family go to a photographer (or they come to you), and you get a professionally produced family portrait. To use in your family cards, you either need the photographer to produce greeting cards for you or you need to be able to purchase rights to use the image yourself.
Now, what should you look for in a photographer for a Christmas photoshoot?
Creativity and Style
Photo by evgenyatamanenko via iStock
A skilled family portrait photographer should have a distinctive style that aligns with your preferences. Look for someone with a creative eye who can capture images in a way that resonates with you. Review their portfolio to get a sense of their artistic approach and see if it aligns with the aesthetic you're looking for.
Experience with Family Photography
While a photographer may excel in other genres, family photography often requires a unique set of skills…
A good family portrait photographer should have experience working with families, understanding how to capture genuine emotions, and managing group dynamics, especially when children are involved. Ask to see examples of their previous family portrait sessions.
Patience and Interpersonal Skills
Photo by Fly View Productions via iStock
Photographing families, especially those with children, demands patience and excellent interpersonal skills. A good photographer should be able to make everyone feel comfortable in front of the camera, creating a relaxed atmosphere that allows for natural and authentic expressions. Patience is crucial for dealing with unexpected challenges that may arise during the shoot.
Attention to Detail
Pay attention to a photographer's attention to detail, both during the shoot and in the final edited images. Look for someone who ensures that every aspect of the photo, from composition to lighting, is carefully considered. Attention to detail extends to post-production as well, where editing should enhance the images without appearing overly manipulated.
Professionalism and Communication
A good family portrait photographer should exhibit professionalism in all aspects of their work. This includes clear communication about pricing, scheduling, and any other logistical details. They should be responsive to your questions or concerns and be punctual for the photo session. Professionalism also extends to delivering the final images within the agreed-upon timeframe.
But, there's another way to tackle your Christmas photoshoot…
How To Do a Christmas Family Photoshoot Yourself
Photo by andresr via iStock
You can do a Christmas family photoshoot yourself if you have the appropriate gear and the skill to use that gear properly.
Part of the equipment list for making your own pics from a self-produced Christmas family photoshoot includes lighting gear. Just as your camera and lens need to be high quality to be used for professional photography, the lighting gear you use needs to be professionally capable.
I found one of the best lighting kits ever from Hobolite - the Hobolite Mini. Here is my Photography Talk YouTube channel test report video of the Hobolite Mini showing their ease of use and high quality:
The Hobolite Mini is an LED light that can be powered by battery power or wall power. It’s extremely compact, bright enough at 20 watts for whatever you want to light up, and is super rugged. It is available as a stand-alone item or in one of two kits.
The standard kit includes the Hobolite Mini, a power adapter and cable, barn doors, honeycomb light modifier, a diffuser dome, 4 color filter gels, and a sturdy bag to hold it all. The Creator Kit (shown above) has all of that and adds a mount for attaching to your camera, a tripod mount adapter, and a very nice mini tripod for placing the light just where you need it.
Don’t settle for poorly lit iPhone photos at Christmas this year. Instead, invest in tools like high-quality lighting that will help you create far better images without breaking the bank.
For ideas on lighting, posing, composition, post-processing, and other things, look on our YouTube channel and also right here on the PhotographyTalk main site for tons of instruction, tips, hints, and ideas.
It’s Christmas family photoshoot time! What are YOU going to do?