Tips for Holiday Family Photos

We had a family holiday photo shoot last week and I’m excited to share the pics with you! Plus a few ideas for your next shoot, and an amazing giveaway from Bella Baby Photography!

I look forward to our family photo sessions but sometimes it can be hard to prepare – especially around the holidays when things are extra busy!

I have a few tips and ideas that worked well for us this time. Starting with this idea from our photographer…..

Document a tradition

..and make it easy!

Depending out what tradition you want to capture, think about a “shortened” version of it. Last year we documented our matching pajama tradition and this year was cookie making.

When we make cookies, it is usually a huge production. Many, many different kinds of cookies, family favorites and LOTS of sprinkles. The kitchen is a total MESS.

But for the photos, Carol (our Bella Baby photographer) gave us the idea to make it fun and EASY.

Instead of making cookies from scratch, we bought the premade (and pre cut!) dough and I made those cookies ahead of time. I laid out a few bowls of sprinkles and ONE kind of frosting.

The kids loved it (so much that they were focusing really hard on the cookies vs photos haha!).

It was also a great way to end the photo session since telling them to smile 1,000 times can get a little exhausting for kids. They decorated cookies for quite awhile and ate a few of course too.

Make a *wish* list of photos that you want

We wanted to be sure to get one of Eric with all the girls and a few of us with each one of them. We also hoped to get one of our dog, Emma, in the photo so our photographer made extra efforts to help with that.

Have a conversation with your photographer at least a day BEFORE the photo shoot so expectations are met. 

 Emma, fresh from the groomer and in her favorite spot – on top of the couch!  

So not all photos are PERFECT haha!

But I love how this one turned out anyway… it shows the funny (and real) moments in our life… Emma is always trying to kiss Harper. Totally get it Emma, she is a cutie!!


Lots of kisses for Harper!

Go outside! 

Not only is lighting usually better outdoors, it is also more fun. I usually book photo sessions outdoors since we hang photos in our house (and want different scenery).

Since I post a lot about decorating our home, I did want to do a mix of both indoors and outdoors.

In case you missed it, I just posted all about our holiday home this year (it was a bit of work to get it “blog ready” so I hope you take a peek!.

Taylor was a rockstar when it came to smiling for the camera – for the FIRST half of the shoot!! Towards the end, she was over it. 

You can never predict how kids will do when your photographer arrives. One thing we always try (when possible) is…

Have an extra set of hands to help.

I purposely scheduled our photo session at the time we already have our sitter come. I was even able to take a shower then and get ready myself – which can be tricky with three kiddos around!

This was a big help during our shoot too – especially since our kids are so little and it can get chaotic (someone always seems to need a snack!).

Always have snacks on hand too!

Our sitter, Danielle, also happens to be amazing at doing hair!! How cute are Taylor and Kinzie’s braids?

Lastly, don’t try to over do it!

Since we don’t have these photo shoots too often, it is easy to try and squeeze a lot in. This time, we stuck to simple outfits that coordinated with each other and were festive.

Our wish list was really short (one of all of us in front of the tree and a couple of each parent with the kids). Our photographer took the lead on the others and she did wonderfully (thank you Carol!).

Samantha Regan

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