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Holiday Card Portrait Time!

I suppose I could hire a photographer to take professional photos of the kids -- throw them into a studio or something. But it seems like a waste of money for something I'd rather do myself. So, this weekend I set an "appointment" on Sunday morning to dress up the ladies and get them outside to gather pics for this year's holiday card.

The thing I find funny is right now, the girls LOOK FORWARD to picture morning. Which is a complete 180 from my childhood when my Mom forced us into clothes, curled our hair like a mushroom (I have photographic evidence, though I'm sure I'm half to blame for that unfortunate hairstyle) and drove us kicking-and-screaming to a studio. But, then again, there was five of us. Two is a bit more manageable. And my girls are total hams in front of the camera.

Here's five things you need to know about taking your own holiday card photo: 
  • Take the photos outside in the early morning. Inside photos are usually too dull or grey. 
  • Find a natural background (a park, water, cool building). Try to keep ugly things, like signs or traffic, out of the frame.
  • Dress them sorta match-y. I try to coordinate one color somewhere in the outfit. For example this year, it was a raspberry red in Alice's dress and Leah's leggings. Looking ahead, this helps you pick a font color in the card.  
  • Take a thousand (or more) photos with your digital camera. Don't stop hitting the button. Click click click. Usually, the shot I use isn't the one I think I will while I'm taking the pictures. I'll discover it looking over the photos on my computer monitor afterwards. It's digital, so it's not like you're wasting film. And just delete the ones where they look like aliens. 
  • Move around to a bunch of different spots, different poses (helps if you're in a park). Change your camera settings and lens. Whatever you have available. Make your subjects laugh. Cry. Fight. Channel your inner Austin Powers. Yeah, baby! 
Variety and a thousand photos, that's how you guarantee success. Unless you have some photographic training, then, you have your education to ensure that one GREAT photo. In which case, good for you!

When I looked through the pictures we got on Sunday morning, there are several "good ones" to choose from. And it's early enough in the season to partake in the excellent coupons and free shipping offers from sites like TinyPrints and Snapfish -- where I usually purchase my cards. So, the hard part of the holiday card is just deciding on the one I want. Sigh.

Happy holidays!


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