Christmas is just around the corner and this means you need to think about preparing for Christmas cards you can send to family members living around the world. Many families cherish the tradition of Christmas photos that they can use for the annual Christmas cards.

This is a way for the family to get dressed up and get together and take a photo that they can use to remember the year by. Other family members and friends also appreciate cards like these since it gives them a sense of being connected to their loved ones who are far away.

If you are planning on taking the annual family picture for the holidays, here are a few tips on how to successfully pull it off.

Ditch the uniform sweaters and just choose a color that ties outfits together.

A holiday family photo of everyone wearing Grandma’s knit sweaters is so 90s. Today, family photos look good with each member wearing something unique, with one color tying outfits together. Choose a festive color like green, red or white. This way, no one in the family will look like he was forced at gunpoint to sit and pose for the camera.

Choose a visually-appealing location.

This can be the living room or the backyard. Nature is a great backdrop for holiday photos which makes outdoor settings a very popular option for family photos, especially when snow is on the ground. White snow is a great backdrop for any family portrait, and will make the colors of your jackets, parkas and Christmas sweaters really pop.

When shooting outdoors, choose the time when the light is not too bright or harsh to avoid highlights and shadows from appearing too prominently on the photo. Snow can be an effective reflector, but it can also give leave you with dark shadows and strong highlights.

If you want to have an outdoor family photo in the middle of winter, choose a time when the sun is not too high up, such as early morning or during the Golden Hour to avoid too much contrast. If you want a family photo indoors, remove clutter first, straighten hanging frames, and maybe move furniture around a bit to create an appealing place for the entire family to sit down and smile for the camera.

Choose a styled backdrop.

If you cannot find a great place to take your photos, get creative with a styled backdrop. You can use this to keep certain areas of the living room hidden or give your photo a styled feel. Hanging balloons, a large tree with all the trimmings, buntings in festive green and red, or a life-sized Nativity scene can serve as the perfect photo backdrop for a family portrait.

Include the pets.

Your dogs and cats are part of the family and when they are included in any photo, the overall shot just looks more adorable to anyone looking at it. You can up the cuteness level by making your pooch wear reindeer horns or a Santa hat.

Take multiple shots.

This tip can never be overstated. Avoid taking one shot only because chances are, you’ll get one photo with one person staring off into space, yawning or frozen in midsmile while the others are giving the camera their biggest grins. Multiple shots ensure that you can get at least one or two decent photos that won’t need profuse editing in Photoshop.

There you go, 5 practical tips for taking great holiday photos just in time for Christmas. Follow these tips to create memorable holiday cards that you can send to family and friends.

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