How to Take a Great Family Photo on Christmas Morning

Christmas is juuuust around the corner. I’ve got a to-do list a mile long and yes, still a few gifts to buy. (I’m a life-long procrastinator.) So today I want to share a few tips and tricks to getting a great family photo on Christmas morning.

If you’re like me, you dream of fabulous photos of your family on Christmas morning. ✨✨Your children squealing with delight as they open the gift they’ve waited for and your adoring husband bringing you a cup of hot coffee in your very favorite mug (preferably from the new coffee maker he bought for you.) ✨✨

HA! 🤣🤣

Let’s be honest…Christmas at my house usually ends up with kids arguing about who gets to open first, wrapping paper flying, and my cold coffee inevitably getting spilled. 🤷‍♀️

BUT…that’s just life…especially life with small kids. Mostly chaos, with lots of love underneath. Even in the craziness that can sometimes be Christmas morning, you can get a great shot of your family in front of the tree.  

Tips for a Great Family Photo on Christmas Morning:

CLEAR the clutter! Really, if you can, it’s best to try to grab this picture before the wrapping paper starts flying. But if you can’t convince your kids that posing for a picture is more fun than presents, do it after everything is finished. Just shove everything out of the way. The opened toys, the paper, the ribbon, the sippy cups…shove it. As much as possible, try to only have your family + the Christmas tree in the shot.

Open the curtains/blinds in the room to let in as much natural light as possible. (If it’s really coming in strong and making harsh shadows on the floor, angle the blinds up a little to help diffuse the light.) 

If you’re able to, try to choose a place with plenty of light for your family to sit. (Ex. I always open our back door to let in as much light as possible and then sit our family in the light with our tree in the background.)

Have your family sit on the floor several feet in front of the tree. I know the tendency is to sit smack in front of it. But if you bring yourselves forward quite a bit, you’ll actually fill the frame with your family while still seeing more of the tree in the background instead of just one small part that you’re backed up against. This distance will also allow your tree lights to be more out of focus, giving that pretty glowy effect.

This was a shot from way back in 2014 when we only had one baby (who wasn’t feeling well that morning)! We were sitting in the light that was coming in through the back door window and my DSLR was on a tripod. (Also…we forgot to clear the clutter.)

Use a tripod if you have one or find something to sit your camera on. Whether you’re using your DSLR camera or your phone, you should have the option to set a 10 sec. timer.  Get your whole family situated on the floor where you can see everyone’s face and leave room for yourself. Once you have them framed the way you want, click the timer button and go jump in the photo. 

Plan on doing this more than once. Kids move…the dog moves…phones tip over…so many moving parts. Just roll with it. 

Want to up-level your photo with your DSLR camera? Try switching over to Aperture Priority mode and using a wide aperture to “blur out” the background”, putting the focus on your family + making those lights really glow. Click here to read the blog post that tells you exactly how to do this + grab your FREE F-stop Cheat Sheet. 

This one was from just last year. Our daughter is sitting in about the same place we were in the picture above. This time I used a tighter lens (with a wider aperture) and just cropped out the clutter!

That’s it! I hope you plan to pause and take a few extra minutes to get that photo on Christmas morning. You’ll be so glad you did.

Before you go, I want to thank you for being here with me in the first place. It’s a privilege to land in your inbox each week and I don’t take that for granted. I’m so very grateful that you would spend a few minutes out of your busy and important week to read my words.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

My family Christmas photo

Until Next Time,

P.S. If you try out these tips at home, I’d love to see your family pictures! Hit reply and send them my way!

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