How To Get Great Holiday Photos!

Don't run and hide (from the camera) this holiday season! 

'Tis the "biggest party season" of the year and you don't need to be The Kardashians to get your best holiday photo game on! 

Years ago, I never gave much thought to what I wore to parties - beyond "Has anyone seen me in this outfit before?" 😳

It certainly never occurred to me how my clothes would translate on camera. Since I became a photographer though, I've realized just how EASY it is to do a little pre-planning so I don't have to pretend to need another peppermint martini (or glass of champagne) every time a camera comes around! 

Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Play it safe and wear a solid color that looks GREAT on you!  Without the right planning, prints can really be hard to pull off in a photo.

2.  But pick the RIGHT color.  Jewel tones are all the rage right now and are GORGEOUS on almost everyone! They do wonders for us when we look a bit washed out - or are just plain tired from holiday planning.  

From sapphire blue to ruby red there are endless options and the holiday season is the best time to pull them off!  If you're a red head, girl, you already know you look AMAZING in emerald green! Blondes look incredible in deep blues and green-eyed brunettes (like me!) can rock purple like nobody's business.  

3. Keep it simple. Bulky layers or shirts that need to be tucked in can look messy, wrinkled and unpolished in a photo. I tend to favor slim fitting one piece dresses that hang nicely without a lot of fuss. 

4. If you'll be at a holiday party splurge on a great blow dry! Nothing makes you more camera ready than a good hair day! And for that EXTRA va-va-va voom factor pop on some fake lashes and pencil in those brows! 

5. Standing almost always looks better than sitting! Unless you are properly posed, when you are sitting your clothes can bulk up and add extra pounds to your body.

6. Stay away from red wine until all of your photos have been taken or your teeth will look gray! 🍷

7.  Flash is almost NEVER flattering so, if at all possible, take your photos while the sun is still out - preferably FACING a window so your face is full of natural light.  This also helps smooth out the skin! ⛅️

I'm also not a fan of those small led lights that are in so many homes & businesses now. I try to turn them off whenever I can because they cast horrible shadows on your face.

8.   Try different camera positions. You don't have to get everyone's full body in the photo - personally, I prefer shots from the waist up with a little more connection between the subjects. Shoot horizontally and not just vertically! 

9.  Plan ahead! If you know you'll be taking group photos with your family you'll want your outfits to "complement" each other but there is NO NEED for everyone to match! It's just too much! Have everyone stick to one "theme" and you're photos will be much more visually appealing.  I absolutely LOVE what the Ramos family did last year for their cards. By sticking to blues, browns and cremes they created a visually appealing photo without being too "matchy-match"  

 Penelope Kim Tarot

10. Show some connection!

Most people pose for photos in awkward lines barely touching each other! No need to be so formal! Laugh, get in super close and wrap your arms around your family members! Be silly. Show some personality! 



Here's a SUPER SIMPLE posing before and after that anyone can do! 

While my "models" Natalia & Lindsay look fine in the first photo their dresses look a bit bulky from the side are adding pounds to their tiny bodies.  Their body language also feels a bit more closed off b/c the focus is on their shoulders and not their faces.

In the second photo:

  • I moved them around so they were facing the camera. You can see how much slimmer they both look face on with their shoulders pulled back slightly?

  • I also took the shot horizontally instead of vertically.

  • Finally, they showed some love! Natalia's hand on Lindsay's shoulder makes the girls look a bit more connected and it feels more personal!

Before: Dresses look bulky, focus is on the outfits not their faces.

Before: Dresses look bulky, focus is on the outfits not their faces.

After: Horizontal crop, facing forward, shoulders back and more connection!

After: Horizontal crop, facing forward, shoulders back and more connection!

Remember, have fun! It's about creating memories with your loved ones - some of the best photos are the ones that are the least planned or expected!

Have an amazing holiday season! 


P.S. If you like these tips, be sure to check out my "last minute event tips" for even more guidance!

Want to learn more? Download my 10 Tips to Look Better in Photos! Click below!