by Katrina Kennedy

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Do they make you cringe? The attempt at clean shirts, clean faces, good moods, good light, great location. All at the same time! Is it even possible?

This year I say, “embrace the imperfect”! Let your family be who they are. Let them wear what they want to wear. Let them make the faces they want to make! Most families are relaxed fun loving people right? Let your holiday cards show that!

Want the best photo? Plan a couple of things keeping FUN in mind!

Find good light: An hour or so before sunset gives beautiful even non direct light.

Go somewhere fun! A park, a playground, out for ice cream, or any favorite family spot! I’d say find a great alley or wall, but that will also require bribing your subjects with a little something after. Choose natural light and stay out of full sun. Keep your sun at your back before you shoot!

Shoot quickly and get it over with! No one wants to watch you fiddle with your settings over and over. Shoot in a mode you are comfortable with and watch your shutter speed (keep it above at least 1/125). Shoot at eye level with your dear ones, they’ll look better. And don’t fear getting close! Avoid clutter, trash cans, and random stuff in your backgrounds for a more professional looking photo.

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Lighten up! Tell jokes, say silly things, ask them to tell their stories, let them just be. Make noises. Play games. Shoot!

Give yourself a break! Family shoots are difficult. Don’t worry about everyone looking at the camera or being perfect. Show everyone your real family! Consider having a friend take your photo. Kids always cooperate more with someone who isn’t related!

Add some variety! Do you want to avoid the entire headache? Grab a favorite photo from the year! Last year I snapped this photo the day after Thanksgiving and knew INSTANTLY it was destined for a card! Don’t be afraid to try something nontraditional! It will be a nice surprise for the people who receive it!

IMG_2621 family photo1Enjoy your holiday!