We took our Christmas Card photo’s the other day at our local beach. I have actually taken all of our Christmas card photos for the past three years and I am IN the photo! You know I am pretty passionate about mom’s getting in the picture. So I thought I would share how you can take your own family pictures too. And I am in LOVE with our Christmas Cards this year. They are my favorite. Maybe because it was the quickest picture and they are super affordable. The best price I have ever paid for Christmas Cards and the fastest it took to order them. And on this post you can purchase the exact Preset I use on all my photos, the camera I use and my photo tips!
Thank you Walmart for sponsoring this post
You can shop the Holiday Cards from Walmart HERE they are super affordable and high quality! We took our photo’s Sunday morning on the way to church and then I ordered the cards from my phone on the drive to church! It was so fast and an easy experience. The first year I have ever ordered our Christmas cards in 15 minutes! It typically takes me hours!!! Can anyone else relate?
And keep reading for my photo editing and picture taking tips…..
I thought I would share some of my tips for taking your own family photo’s and how to edit them. And also share WHY.
Reasons for taking your own photos for your Christmas cards-
- You don’t know of a photographer
- To be able to choose the time and not ever feel rushed. We like to take family pictures on Sunday when we all actually get “ready” for church (aka…wash my hair) and it can be hard to schedule a photographer then (because they have a life).
- You can see what they look like BEFORE you get the final picture. Who likes to get their family pictures back and not like any of them because you really should not have worn a certain outfit or maybe you needed to fix your hair and you are the only one who would even notice….but it still bothers you??? When you take your own pictures you can take the time to look at each photo to see what needs to be adjusted!
- You can save money and get all of the original photo’s!
I am not anti-professional photographers at all. I actually look-up to them in many ways. But for a couple of reasons I choose to take our own family pictures for our Christmas card.
Tips for taking your own Christmas Card photo-
- Pick a location that is close to home. Really there is no reason to drive an hour for a location. All anyone cares about is seeing your beautiful faces!
- Focus on lighting. This is HUGE!!! I will say this a million times…..lighting is EVERYTHING! My favorite time to take pictures outside is at dusk….as the sun is setting. Or an area that the sun is not shinning. For instance I never take photos of my backyard until the sun has set. If I try to take it before then everything is washed out. It faces South. Our front yard faces North so I can take those photos earlier. Or a cloudy day is a good day. We took our recent family pictures at 10:30 am, on a cloudy day.
- You can easily take the photo with your iPhone! Biggest tip is to CLEAN YOUR LENSE. And use the main camera lens (not the selfie lens). Find a phone tripod stand HERE. That tripod comes with a remote that you can hook thru bluetooth to snap the pictures! No running back and forth.
- Make sure the camera is in FOCUS! Set it up so boxes appear around the faces in the people in the photo (include feet! you can always crop later).
- ALWAYS move the tripod stand closer. NEVER zoom in or magnify.
- If you can use a DSLR Camera. Yes, they are an investment. But if you forgo professional photos one year then you can almost pay for a new camera! I use a THIS Canon Rebel T6i with WIFI and I LOVE it!!! I have had a Nikon and by far the Canon is my favorite. It has the ability to shoot videos and also set a timer self timed photos.
- Get a tripod specifically for your type of camera. I know a lot of bloggers who pay a lot of money for a nice tripod. But I have been happy with my $35 tripod. It does the trick. If you plan on taking photos at night then invest in a nicer tripod. The way we took our photo was on a timer. Kevin would run back and set the timer and it would take 10 photos at a time. (Best to have someone who isn’t in heels to run back and forth or the one not holding a kid).
Using your DSLR Camera-
- This would require an entire blog post. But I will say that I took a local camera class that was run through the town. It cost me $100 dollars and it helped a lot!
- PRACTICE! Don’t just head out with your new camera and take your family photo’s. It takes a lot of practice to understand it and get better. I still don’t know everything my camera does!
- Don’t shoot your photos with anything above an ISO of 400. It is better to adjust the aperture.
- You can always just shoot on Auto mode until you figure out or take a class on how to shoot in manual mode. I used AUTO mode forever and I liked my photos!! Now with shooting so much indoors and playing with light I have to know how to shoot in manual mode.
- I have THIS Canon Rebel T6i with WIFI (you download an app and then you can transfer your photos from your camera to your phone).
Editing your photos-
- I like to zoom in and crop my photo so the people in the picture are the focus.
- You can use an easy editing site like picmonkey.com for your desktop computer or download Adobe Lightroom CC to your phone to edit photos on your phone, this is my favorite way to edit photos recently! (Lightroom is trickier to use on your desktop, I just use the app on my phone).
- Always save your photo with the maximin amount of pixels. It is the largest file, but the best to download. Never print photo’s from a screen-shot or not from the original source.
- You can purchase Preset’s that make photo editing so fast and your photo’s look amazing! A “Preset” is set edit for your photo that you download to Lightroom. With one touch you can put an edit on your photo that someone created. Just simply shop the look of the photo’s with the presets you like, then select that one! I have one that I use on ally photos. It makes photo editing super quick and consistent. (See below for my favorite Presets!)
PS- when you purchase a Preset it comes with instructions on how to do it!
Different Preset Options for Easy Editing your Photos-
Below is the raw photo right from my camera with no filters
Below is the Preset I used for our actual Christmas Card. It is called “Nesting with Grace”! You can get the same look that I use on all of my photos. Find THIS Nesting with Grace Preset for the photo below (mobile version for Lightroom).
You can see below the top half of my Instagram feed does not have a Preset then the bottom half has my custom Preset! You can download it HERE for only $7 you will get 3 Preset Downloads –
1- Original Preset (which I use for my home photos)
2- Warm (which I used for my Christmas Card and people)
3- Cold (which can make warmed images cooler)
I used THIS Preset (Avocado) For the photo below (mobile version for Lightroom).
I used THIS Muted Mulled Wine for the photo below (mobile version for Lightroom) I used THIS Gingerbread Preset on the photo below (mobile version for Lightroom) Very similar to our Christmas Card Preset.
You can go HERE to my Instagram Highlights under “Presets” for a short video showing you how to use a Preset.
I hope that helps! Please leave me any questions you have below.