(Last Updated On: March 27, 2020)
Home Photo Tips 5 Tips for Amazing Holiday Family Portraits

5 Tips for Amazing Holiday Family Portraits

(Last Updated On: February 27, 2020)

Amazing Holiday Family Portraits

The holidays are here and that means it’s time for the proverbial family holiday portraits, but sometimes getting that perfect shot can be elusive in the hustle and bustle of the season.  Whether you’re using the camera on your phone, a point-and-shoot, or a DSLR, the same general principles hold for getting awesome portraits.  Here are 5 tips to help you on your way:

1.  Find a Point of Interest (but just one per photo)

Every great shot has a focal points that holds the viewer’s interest, but during the holidays the backgrounds are often overwhelmingly full of competing focal points: people, colors, food, decorations, etc.  Paying attention to what’s in your background and even going for a minimalist feel will help the focus stay on your subject.

2. Manage Your Flash

Many shots during the holiday season take place indoors with limited lighting.  This means that when you use your flash it can sometimes be too bright and/or harsh. If you have a camera that works well in low light conditions, try working without the flash. If not, consider using a diffuser or reflector.  If you have an external flash, you can try bouncing it off the walls or the ceiling.

3. Use a Tripod

I tripod is often under-utilized by amateur photographers, but unless you’re using your phone or tablet to get your shots, there’s really no excuse for not get at least some of your shots with a tripod.  Why?  Well, for one thing you won’t come away with what you thought was a fantastic shot, only to find that it’s actually somewhat blurry.  Also, it’ll help you take time to compose your shots, consider the background, etc.

4. Set Your White Balance

If you’re celebrating your Christmas indoors you’re probably working with unnatural lighting.  If you’re using incandescent lighting (standard light bulbs), setting you camera’s white balance to tungsten should do the trick.  If you’re shooting under fluorescent lighting, you’ll need to switch to the fluorescent white balance setting.  Of course, if you’re shooting in RAW you can always change the white balance later, but it’s much less hassle to get it right in-camera.

5. Fill Your Frame

This seems pretty elementary, but you won’t believe how many beginning photographers forget this point when shooting holiday and/or party photos.  Their photos end up with their subjects in the distance and lots of empty space of other background “noise” around them.  Filling your frame is pretty straight-forward – just use your zoom or get closer.  It’s that simple!

FREE Family and Portrait Photography Videos

Sharp Focus For Family Photos: The reDefine Show with Tamara Lackey

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Family Portrait Photography Courses from Udemy Photography Courses

Beginning Family Portrait Photography: Shoot Like a Pro

Beginning Family Portrait Photography - Shoot Like a Pro
Go from boring snapshots to amazing family portraits. Your kids will LOVE to pose for you when they see your photos.

Photography – Individual & Family Posing – Live Sessions

Photography - Individual & Family Posing - Live Sessions
Dramatically improve your portraits with these easy relaxed posing techniques. Flatter your subjects & they’ll love you!

Posing Like A Pro: Create Your Best Portraits Ever!

Posing Like A Pro Create Your Best Portraits Ever!
Learn the Foundations of Poses That Will Flatter Your Subjects And Elevate Your Portrait Photography Skills.

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Photography - Shoot Stunning Portraits of Your Kids
Priceless photography: Confidently use a DSLR camera instead of your iPhone

Have any other tips you’d like to share?  Let us know!

Usnea Lebendig
Usnea Lebendig
Usnea Lebendig is a travel and landscape photographer who loves trekking in the wilderness, exploring other cultures, and using photography for social activism.


  1. It helped a lot when you mentioned how you should consider the lighting in your area and the flask of your camera when taking family photos. I can see that taking this into account can help you get the quality pictures you want and make sure your family has memories for the future.We are planning on getting a couple of family portraits for the new year and want to make sure we find the best professional that can help us out, so I’m glad I found your page.


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