How To Take a Memorable Holiday Photo

I never really thought much about the family photo card until I had my child.  Sure, I received them every year and enjoyed seeing my friend’s kids get older and families grow.  But when I received my photographer friends’ holiday card, it inspired me to think of what I would do for my holiday card next year.

Los Angeles is filled with talented people.  The holidays are just another way to showcase creativity.  My friends Jenny and Joseph Llanes are both amazing photographers.  Joseph  is a music and entertainment photographer, and his wife Jenny shoots weddings, portraits, and families.  (She photographed my “about me” photo)!  They have an incredibly adorable baby, Greyson, and this is his first Christmas.  They hired fellow entertainment photographer friend Corey Nickols to shoot their family holiday photo, and this is what they created:

Llanes Christmas Card 2013

Photographers Jenny and Joseph Llanes’ Christmas Card, photo by Corey Nickols

Looks like a slick advertisement for Old Navy or Gap, right?  Yes, they are lucky to have the resources and creativity at arm’s reach.  But it doesn’t mean that if you aren’t as lucky, you should take your own family photo within arm’s reach.  Here are some tips to help you create a memorable holiday photo:

Hire a Photographer

Keep your selfies on Facebook and Instagram.  Hire a photographer to take your family photo for your printed holiday card.  Not everyone may have access to a celebrity photographer, but there are enough photographers out there for hire.  Especially when photographing young children or babies, hiring a professional will be worth the trouble. The last thing you want is the hassle of running from the camera to your “place” in the photo, hoping it looks “ok” or “good enough.”  Add up the time spent going back and forth taking the photos, looking at the photos, and making sure baby isn’t crying, you will realize the time wasn’t worth the effort.  Which leads to…

Keep the photo shoot short

Just because it looks great doesn’t mean it took a lot of time.  Jenny’s photo shoot for their holiday card took about 10 minutes.  “Ten minutes!?” you say.  Yup, because the window of opportunity for a child’s good mood  is so short, it’s best to  just let the photographer do their thing by taking as many photos as they can in a short amount of time.  You will get your best photos that way, and they will look less posed.  Speaking of posing…

“Think outside the box and think about what makes you laugh.”

That is a great piece of advice from Jenny.  One of my favorite things about the Llanes holiday photo card is that no one is looking at the camera.  They are having fun and interacting with each other.  Meet with your photographer beforehand if possible, know the style of their work, and talk about how the shoot is going to go, including wardrobe, props, etc.  Jenny said, “We know the photographer well & work with him often. This style photo is what he does well, so we let him go for it.”  Also,

Timing is everything

As a mother and professional photographer, Jenny Llanes says,  “A lot of it is about timing. Make sure you know when your kid will be the happiest. It always revolves around the child!”  Our children are only this young once.  The best photographs are the ones we have the most fun taking.

I’m starting my planning early, so I’m ready for next year!   I can’t wait to see how it will turn out.

Thank you to Jenny Llanes for contributing to this article, including use of their wonderful Christmas card.


Relevant Links

Jenny Llanes:
blog | facebook | twitter

Joseph Llanes Photography

Corey Nickols Photography

Ruby Hunt Photography (my photography site!)