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Yes Please

‘Tis the season to be creative. And what better way to show off your photography skills than with some personalised Christmas photo cards?

Here are ten of the best examples and how to capture them.

Flat lay of handmade christmas photo cards

10. The Funny Christmas Card

Everyone’s family loves a little comedy around Christmas. And if they don’t, even the more reason you need to make one. The only limit here is your creativity.

Many families (and single people) capture themselves with alcohol. But, if that really isn’t your bag, then take a note from this Scandinavian photography group below.

To make it Christmas themed, look at all the connotations that surround this time of year. Santa, reindeer and elves are just one part, so expand your range to gifts, trees, snow, singing…

The list goes on.

These Christmas photos are great for friends, and families that are fun loving and easy-going. But we don’t recommend these Christmas photo ideas for your boss.

A humorous Christmas photo card from a Scandinavian photography group

9. The Matching PJs

For a relaxed Christmas photo cards image that is neither comical, nor entirely serious, go for matching pyjamas. This shows the family in their habitat, loose as a Christmas goose.

It’s a little more intimate, showing how the family are together on Christmas day.

This is a perfect way to show off your gang through a simple family Christmas photo idea. The only problem you might have is finding the same clothing in different sizes

An easy way around these Christmas pictures is to mix in block colours that you can easily find. Even better if  they follow the Christmas colour scheme of white, red, gold and green.

A family in matching christmas outfits - great Christmas photo cards ideas

8. The Studio Shot

In the UK and US, it used to be the thing to do to have your image taken by a studio for the Christmas photo cards. I can still see the photo studio in my hometown in my mind.

Places like Olan Mills took studio images, shooting with a Christmassy backdrop. These scenes would depict a warm, cosy scene in front of a gift-laden tree.

Depending on how detailed you want this to be, there are a few different routes you can take. The simplest is to find a photo studio that already has these backdrops.

For something a little more creative, your editing skills will come into play. This is a simpler idea than setting up the shot then and there with both the people and backdrop.

Here, you need to find a perfect location and photograph it beforehand. Then, after photographing the family separate, you need to Photoshop the two elements.

It will take some time, effort and practise but it is completely possible. Your family and friends will be in awe. The best thing is, you can use the same backdrop next year too.

7. The Christmas Hats Card

This is the simplest Christmas photo cards setup. You already have a backdrop if you have your tree and decorations up already.

Use the Christmas colour palette to emphasis the simplicity of the image. We are talking reds, whites, golds and greens. You can use other colours, but these need to be the main ones.

Santa hats work well too. Without them, it wouldn’t be as strong an image. The focus is going to be more on you and your family’s interactions, so you will need to pose a little.

Place the biggest/tallest person down first, you can layer everyone else on top. This works well with older children, whereas the smaller ones can sit at the front.

It is up to you how your family poses for these Christmas photos. They can either look directly at the camera smiling, or interact with each other for a more candid and relaxed shot.

A family wearing christmas hats posing in a pile - christmas pictures ideas

6. The Snowflake

The snowflake is the simplest shot, yet provides a very strong shape and composition for Christmas pictures. This is one of the best family Christmas photo ideas as it’s simple.

You only need to figure out the backdrop (a floor) and the outfits. Keep the outfits simple, perhaps to a few block colours that match the Christmas theme.

Santa hats are a nice touch. This works well for any group of three or more. You will need another person to capture the image and ensure everyone’s clothing is straight and spot on.

A family wearing christmas hats posing in a circle on the floor- christmas pictures ideas

5. The Vintage Pose

If traditional family Christmas photo outfit ideas aren’t for you, why not try something more vintage? This is like fancy dress, but without the pumpkins, skulls and candy.

There are many ways these Christmas photos can take shape. Start by looking back to a period that you like, or perhaps, already have the clothing for.

Most of what you need can be easily sourced from charity shops. Friends and family (especially your grandparents) and shopping online will help. For everything else, you may need to dig a little deeper.

If you don’t have the time, money, or energy for these Christmas pictures, use editing software. You can easily achieve the vintage look in Photoshop or Gimp.

Use a sepia tone mixed with a ‘dust and scratches’ layer to give that old timey feel. You could even use a backdrop from a studio setting.

A couple wearing vintage clothes driving a car - Christmas photo cards

4. The Minimalist Card

Scandinavians are famous for their minimal style. Their decor is mainly white, with wood furnishings and bright tones. This gives you most of what you need for perfect Christmas photo cards.

Use a few props in a very clean setting and dress the subjects in Christmassy colours.

A Santa hat is almost an absolute must to make sure those you send it to understand it’s Christmas photography.

You can photograph your entire family member by member. Then drop the images on a card as a grid to show everyone. This gives you more chances to be creative and different.

A minimalist christmas photo cards ideas of children posing by a giant christmas wreath

3. The Classic Family Card

The best family Christmas photo ideas are the simplest. You can’t go wrong with a beautiful family portrait in a classic and chic style. Everyone puts on their casual wear, with a loose yet matching theme.

You don’t have to go with traditional Christmas colours. Purples, dark greens, greys and blues work well and go with the season.

Try to keep the setting simple, with one or two flairs instead of an all out Christmas backdrop. Your posing will be very important to stay with the serious Christmas photo idea.

This is a perfect chance to use a studio for correct lighting and simple settings. Get your pets involved, and have everyone look to the camera, preferably full of Christmas cheer.

A minimalist christmas photo cards ideas of a family posing in front of a christmas wreath

2. The Outdoor Photo

Getting outside of the house is a perfect setting for family Christmas photo ideas. Especially if the landscape has that Christmas feel. Snow really brings the festive idea home.

Make sure the family dress warm. Don’t worry about going for the typical Christmas colours. Chances are, you probably don’t all have red coats, hats and gloves.

Pose the family naturally, get your camera on a tripod and set a timer. Failing that, you can use a wireless shutter release hidden in your hand. Even better if your camera has an articulating LCD screen.

Keep it simple, and flick between shots of everyone looking at the camera and something more candid.

If there is snow, play around with the snow to keep the children entertained and full of smiles.

A sweet christmas picture of a family posing together in the snow

1. The Over the Top Card

My favourite Christmas photo cards are the ones where the family isn’t standing still, but those that are little more candid. For me, a family has a personality, and this needs to shine.

There are many ways to create Christmas photos that show your family as they are.

Find a location that can work well, integrate some props to drive home the idea of Christmas photography. The most important thing is that you end up with an image that shows your family well.

It can be comical, it can be over the top. Children tying up their parents with tinsel. Or stealing Santa’s cookies. Or the entire family dressed as Christmas gifts.

These are all simple but fun Christmas photo cards ideas.

The photographer should be someone the children are familiar with, so they be themselves. Or use a tripod and timer. Get out there and create something people will enjoy.

A humorous christmas pictures grid of a family posing as christmas gifts

Now that you’ve got these ten Christmas photo cards ideas to use with your family, get out there and spread some of the cheer.

Don’t forget to share your results with us in the comments.v

A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:

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Craig Hull

Craig is a photographer currently based in Budapest. His favourite photographic areas are street and documentary photography. Show him a darkroom and he'll be happy there for days. As long as there are music and snacks. Find him at and Instagram/craighullphoto

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