People associate the holidays with hot chocolate, warm, fuzzy blankets, snuggling in front of the fireplace, and exchanging gifts at Christmas! It’s also a great time to have a holiday family photo taken.

Family portrait photos can be festive, creative, and bright when the holidays are approaching. This season is not an everyday affair, so organizing a family portrait photography shoot is an excellent way to get great mementos and share special moments with loved ones.

A family photoshoot is a fun and rewarding holiday activity. However, it may come with challenges, especially when you don’t know where to start, much less how to be creative and natural. Even professionals who know how to take a good portrait photo sometimes find it difficult to plan their clients’ annual holiday cards.

These tips will help you take your holiday family photo to a whole new level while having fun with your family!

Elements of a Successful Photoshoot

Timing and location can make or break your photoshoot

Producing stunning family photographs is more than just having a professional family portrait photographer with a quality camera. It also requires skill, thorough planning, patience, and knowledge of key elements. Here are some of them:

  • Location

Location is essential for every photography session, not just for a Christmas family photoshoot. Your photographer will advise you where to go since there are several alluring spots in Toronto, Ontario, that will look beautiful during the holidays.

You can choose anything from evergreen trees to rigid structures, such as rocks and bricks, or even posing with the snow. Even with its seemingly barren effect, snow can certainly add a magical effect to your surroundings.

Don’t just choose a location where you can get a variety of poses and portrait styles, like a black-and-white theme. Your location should also be pet- and child-friendly, so consider any accessibility concerns the family may have.


Some families also like to stay at home for a cozy photo or go to a studio nearby. And who says you can’t have family photos at the beach during the holidays? When choosing a location, don’t let the snow stop you.

  • Time 

During the holidays, temperatures will take longer to rise. Some families even consider it too cold to allow an outdoor portrait photographer to take their photos before 11 in the morning. To get the best photos, plan on starting your portrait session at least 2 hours before the sun sets.

  • Duration

A family portrait session may take longer than you expect. To produce the right photos, consider adding extra time, especially with a large group of subjects (from pets and grandparents to children). A professional photographer who considers the photoshoot duration carefully will avoid scheduling back-to-back clients to maximize each family’s time.

  • Clothing

You need clothing to achieve the style and concept you desire. You and your photographer should discuss clothing through a phone call or an in-person meeting. The clothes you wear are up to you. Still, it is better to coordinate with your family, especially regarding the colours.

  • Gear

Every professional photographer has a few things in their photography toolbox to enhance photo sessions. These will help create memorable memories for you and your loved ones. The gear can include a camera, off-camera flash, tripod, reflectors, and light meters, to name a few.

Excellent Ways to Nail Your Holiday Family Photo

Consider selecting outfits with matching colours and accessories

Ready to get the most impressive shots for your holiday family photo? Here are some expert-recommended tips for you:

  • Select a theme and colour palette for your clothing.

The rule of thumb for selecting a wardrobe is not to upstage the rest of your family. Keep it simple to get great shots by starting with a neutral colour palette. From there, you can add a variation of up to 2 to 3 accent colour tops.

Your family photo wardrobe shouldn’t necessarily match. Instead, strive for a cohesive theme to bring a cheerful and colourful vibe to your photos. And since it’s not the hot season, consider wearing a wardrobe that matches your theme and the weather, such as gloves, warm coats, or sweaters.

  • Plan a creative board with your photographer.

Although family photos can sometimes be tough to nail, they turn out to be much better and more creative when you are well-prepared. So, you must plan everything out with your hired photographer. Start by providing them with a shot list.

You can prepare a creative board and find all the inspiration you need on the Internet, like Pinterest and Instagram. Your board should include the location, date, colour scheme, and time of day the photographer will take the photos.

  • Match your outfits with accessories.

Now that your wardrobe is fixed, you can add matching accessories. You have various options to match your outfits with simple or extreme accessories, including hats, mittens, and headbands. Accessories will add a finishing touch to your look and can double as a way to warm you up!

  • Prepare with your kids.

Kids can be chaotic during photoshoots. Aside from offering them treats to calm them down, you can let them join you in your preparations. Assign light but fun tasks to the kids, such as letting them pick their outfits and accessories. Preparing with your kids will make them feel like they are a part of the photo shoot.

  • Engage in your favourite holiday activity.

Moving during your holiday photoshoot is an excellent way to avoid freezing under the snow, especially for Christmas family photoshoots! Your favourite holiday activities will look natural and gorgeous when photographed. You may try playing board games, skating, building snowmen, having snowball fights, or sledding. Your favourite activities will allow your photographer to capture stunning and unfiltered moments while forgetting the freezing temperature for a moment.

  • Be yourself, and have fun!

We can’t stress this enough: candid shots are always the prettiest. They can convey your family’s natural dynamics. Being genuine means being comfortable with having your photo taken. You can also try to tickle your kids, make couples kiss, or make everyone laugh to fill the shots with happy memories.

book an appointmentHolidays will highlight the importance of family relationships, so it’s no surprise that it’s a heavily photographed event. When planning a family photography session, approach it with patience, and don’t forget to have fun. Unscripted photos will define the emotional moments you and the family have gone through for decades.

To nail your holiday family photo, focus on your close relationship and fill the session with the festivity that comes with the season. You can make the holiday season more enjoyable for all with thorough preparation.

If you need family photography services, Twenty5Films is here. We specialize in taking family portraits in Ontario, and we see to it that the memories we capture are WORTH it for you. We can help you capture your natural family dynamics and create a unique story you’ll look back on for years. Call us now at (905) 741-3697. This is why we put together excellent tips to help you nail your holiday or winter family photoshoot.

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