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The DIY Guide to Taking Christmas Family Photos

I’m a really terrible Christmas card photo planner. Every year I intend to have one of my amazing photographer friends capture a few shots of Daniel and I, but life always gets in the way. 2 weeks before Christmas I scramble to take a few shots myself so we can put out a Christmas card or at least a Christmas Facebook post! Thankfully, there are a few tricks that I’ve learned over the years of doing this that allow Daniel and to have gotten some pretty spectacular shots. All of these photos I’ve taken with a camera & tripod (except the last one. Thanks Mom!). Some utilized a little extra gear too, but you can recreate most of these types of shots with the following tips in the DIY Guide to Taking Christmas Family Photos!

couple poses for a ugly sweater Christmas card with their cat in Charlotte, NC

(2016 Christmas Ugly Sweater Party)

Tip #1 – Put your device on timer mode

No matter what device you use, whether it be a professional DSLR or your iphone, all cameras come now with a timer option. 10 seconds is just enough time for you to set it and get your booty into the shot! Mom is no longer missing! If you want to add even more flexibility to your shots you can add on a remote trigger to your setup. They’re super cheap and reduce the running back and forth to your camera. You can get a bluetooth trigger for most phones now too! Just click a button and the photo is taken!

Couple kisses on top of Grandfather mountain in the fall (First Anniversary at Grandfather Mountain)

Tip #2 – Get a tripod

Stabilizing your camera or phone helps SO much! It allows you to have a stable shot without stacking a tower of books just to set it up (been there done that). It also makes you hands free so you’re able to snuggle up with your family or hold your cat! Adding a more personal element. There are so many cheap tripods out there these days. Amazon has 5 million options alone for both cameras and your phones. I would recommend getting one that extends to eye level at least, some are misleading and you’ll still have to stack books to make it work.

Family poses for a group shot at Thanksgiving in Charlotte, NC

(The Ludke Clan Thanksgiving 2017)

Tip #3 – Use natural light

Now this may or may not help reduce the blinking issue, but it’s a lot easier for your eyes to bear than a bright flash over and over again. Place the family facing a window or go outside. It’s easy to find a few snowy trees or some Christmas lights to stand in front of and sneak a festive shot. This allows for a nice even light source and less shock to the system.

Couple throws snow into the air making silly faces in Charlotte, NC

(2017 snowpocolyps)

Tip #4 – Have fun!

No need to stand there awkwardly wondering “what to do I do with my hands?” Use this opportunity to give snuggily hugs, throw snow, or make silly faces. It’s fun moments like these that truly make a photo stand out!


Capturing moments in time are so incredibly important. I hope these few tips will help you snag the perfect Christmas shot this year and for many years to come. If this all sounds like too much work, then I would highly recommend hiring your favorite photographer to help create some gorgeous memories for you. It’s even more fun when all you have to do is focus on being a family!

And without further ado here is our 2017 Christmas Card to you! Merry Christmas!

Mabyn & Daniel

Couple blows breath into a cold snowy night in Charlotte, NC

The DIY Guide to Taking Christmas Family Photos