Regardless of how many or how few humans (or pets) you have to wrangle, getting a good holiday photo can be a stressful endeavor. Coordinating everyone’s blinks and smiles is a skill all its own. Fortunately, the advancements in smartphones have made getting a good photo more accessible to everyone. Grab your phone or camera, and let’s get started!


  • It’s best to stick to two or three colors. Neutrals are great, with pops of color in a vest, scarf, tie, or hat. Matching outfits will make your photo look dated. Let people express their personalities for a more authentic photo.


  • Taking your photo shoot outside will give you the advantage of natural light. Golden hour (an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset) will give you the warmest light. Position everybody with their backs to the sun.
  • Check your background, making sure there aren’t trees coming out of anyone’s head.
  • If you want to get fancy, some nurseries or orchards offer a photo setup for free or a small fee.
  • Indoor photos work best if you position everyone facing a window that offers indirect sunlight.


  • Set up a tripod and use your camera’s self-timer feature if you want to be in the photo. Or, if need be, snag a neighbor to help.
  • To avoid some faces being blurry, line up your group so everyone is on the same plane. (Imagine there is a window in front of them and everyone’s forehead is touching it.)
  • Place your group a distance away from the backdrop, and turn on portrait mode for a dreamy, blurry background.
  • Zoom with your feet. Instead of using digital zoom, physically move yourself closer to your subjects. This will help you avoid pixelated photos.
  • If your subjects are prone to blinking at the wrong time, tell everyone to close their eyes and open them on your command.
  • Laugh! Holiday photos are a chance to put your arms around loved ones and enjoy the connection. Don’t let the quest for a perfect photo stand in the way of joy.