Monday, December 12, 2011

Guest Post

Hello all! I'm Cat from Stuff I Love and I am very honored to be here. Today I want to talk to you about what to wear for taking holiday photos. First I'll confess that I am the queen of holiday photo failures. It seems like every year something goes wrong. So here are my tips that I've learned from experience:

1) Avoid wearing black or white. If you're doing a studio shoot, many photographers' standard backgrounds are black and white. If you wear one of those colors, you risk looking like a family of floating heads in half your pictures. Photographers can do amazing things with lighting to minimize the effect, but why make them work harder than they need to? (I can't publish it here, but I have some really odd "two headed monster" pictures of my boys who were hugging while wearing matching white turtlenecks).
Sorry guys, but you practically disappear!

2) Don't be too matchy matchy. It's great if you can get your family to coordinate - but instead of having everyone dress as clones of each other, try to spice things up a little. Try matching patterns, but varying the outfit pieces (lots of kids' clothes, like Carters brand, sell several different separates of the same fabric). Or, try different shades of the same color. Got a sense of humor? Try an 'ugly sweater' pic. This technique will also help avoid the previously mentioned two-headed monster phenomenon.

Coordinating, but not matching.

3) Time it right. I can't tell you how many totally ruined photos we've taken because the baby was hungry or needed a nap. Or the toddler was grumpy because we made him bathe first. Or I forgot to bathe the baby and her hair was greasy. Or someone had lunch all over his shirt and we had to totally rethink outfits as we were running out the door. Try to make sure that everyone is well fed and rested and not perturbed before you line up in front of the lense. You'll get a whole lot more smiles and have a much happier photographer. Along those same lines, if you know you're going to be having surgery on your face, don't schedule your session for a couple weeks later. You will be disappointed when you still look like a chipmunk and literally are not able to smile. Put it off, even if it means wearing a Santa hat in April.

Took this 3 weeks post-partum. Felt fat. Never mailed the cards. Should have waited.

4) Allow freedom of expression. Sure, it's great for everyone to coordinate and look 'picture perfect' for your holiday cards. But be sure not to squelch personal style just for the sake of 'perfection.' The perfect holiday card shows off exactly who your family is at that moment in time - bad haircuts, body jewelry and superhero capes included. In time, those are the photos you will come to treasure much more than overly coordinated studio shots.

yup, this made it on our Christmas card!

5) Be cautious with props. A photo of the whole family in antlers or Santa hats could be really adorable. Or, it could be a recipe for disaster. If you have small kids, or your son hates hats, it might be best to shelve that idea for later. On the other hand, if your daughter only cheeses for the camera if she's got on a feather boa and Audrey glasses - then by all means, ham it up!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!!

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