5 Mistakes to Avoid with Family Christmas Pictures

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Group Photography, Holiday Photography, Photography Tips, Portrait Photography

5 Mistakes to Avoid with Family Christmas Pictures | Backdrop Express Photography Blog

When looking back through old family albums do you cringe every time you get to the pages with Christmas pictures from years gone by? Trust us, you are not alone. Awful and embarrassing pictures can be a result of many things, including inexperienced photographers, camera malfunctions and the fact that everyone just acts goofy in front of the camera.

You do not have to be a professional photographer to still have fantastic holiday pictures or a Christmas portrait that can be enjoyed from year to year. Just take a few precautions that will help you avoid everyone cringing next year when grandma wants to bring out the photo album.

1. Focus on Correct Spacing

A lot can be said about the spacing in a Christmas portrait. There are so many ways spacing can work against you when creating those annual Christmas memories. The challenge is to avoid leaving a lot of room between people, without making them look they are packed into a can of sardines. Also, watch the spacing from the ceiling, floor and sides in relation to the group. Too much empty space surrounding the group can make it look awkward. Zoom in and focus on all of those shining happy people in your family portrait.

Watch your camera angle in relation to spacing. Be careful to not cut off the heads of the people in the top row nor the bodies of the people in the front row.

Christmas Backdrops

2. Discourage Identical Outfits

Though you want everyone in your Christmas picture to complement each other, you want to avoid having everyone look like clones. Do not ask everyone to wear matching outfits. Try finding outfits that are similar in color, but not identical to one another. Picking a couple neutral colors and one or two accent colors will make the photo stand out in an appealing way.

This should go without saying, but we need to say it anyways– avoid dressing in awful outfits that will only have others in the family laughing at you next year. Avoid dressing the family in their pajamas, as Christmas presents, as Santa and his elves, or anything of the sort, unless your goal is for a ridiculous and hilarious memory. If this is not your goal, a more classy and neutral look is much more appealing.

3. Avoid Busy Backgrounds

Finding the perfect Christmas backdrop can be a difficult task when shooting a holiday portrait. You want one that will complement the style of the family. Snowflakes,  winter trees, ornaments and candy canes and other holiday scenes are all Christmas backdrops you can find to help add cheer and festiveness to the pictures. While a lot of Christmas lights in the background will be bright and cheery, when in focus they can distract from the people in the front. Blur the images in the background to avoid having it appear too busy and distract from the family.

Check out our Bokeh Backdrops for a festive, blurred holiday light background!

Christmas Backdrops

4. Get Rid of Head Sprouts

Do not laugh at this, because we have all seen them and many of us are guilty of doing this too. Though it may be unintentional, avoid positioning members of your family in front of objects that may sprout off their head! For example, do not place grandpa in front of the center of the Christmas tree so the top and star appear to be coming out of his head. Look back at previous Christmas pictures, we guarantee you will find at least one of these. Move grandpa to the side a little before capturing the image.

5. Resolve Camera Issues Before

In addition to off positioning, bad backgrounds and other items that can make for awful family Christmas pictures, you also have to watch out for camera issues. Make sure the camera is set to the proper setting for where you are shooting. Make sure there is enough good lighting in the room and wait for the flash to recycle before shooting again. Finally, do not forget to pack enough batteries; low batteries (or dead ones) will make the Christmas portrait more difficult and take longer to shoot.

When shooting your family portrait this Christmas make sure to have fun and enjoy the time with your loved ones. Take your time when setting up to shoot pictures and watch out for those few things that can make a nice Christmas picture turn into an embarrassing moment.

 Do you hire a professional photographer to take your family holiday portraits or take them yourself?

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in reading more about holiday photography? Check out 5 Tips to a Better Family Christmas Picture!

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Comments (1)

  • Christmas Backdrops


    Well said.. This is absolutely helpful.. Thanks 🙂


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