Family Photo Taking Tips and I’m Off the Naughty List


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Family Picture Taking Tips to get the best shots!

2014 is officially my year to make it onto the nice list.

That’s right, while everyone is running around like chickens with their Santa hats falling off, I’ll be sitting by a roaring fire, sipping a glass of wine and listening to Elvis croon I’ll have a Blue Christmas Without You.


Why you ask?

Because not only can I share a special Shutterfly promotion for 10 free cards with code GREETINGS from 10/16 – 10/20, but also because I’ve decided to stop waiting until the eleventh hour and order my Christmas cards early this year.

It’s one more thing I can check off my naughty or nice list.


So on a warm September day, I schlepped my girls, Sushi and my camera into our yard while we pretended it was a blustery wintry day in their heavy sweaters.

The results are in and I’m in love with our 2014 cards.


Note:  If you’re on my Christmas card list, avert your eyes so you’ll be surprised when you tear open the envelope.

Family Photo Taking Tips to get the best shots!  Also, love this photo collage card with room for lots of pics

Family Photo Taking Tips from Someone Who Hates Staged Photographs

Lighting – Plan your photo session in the early morning or late afternoon for the best light (avoid direct, harsh sunlight).

Dress to Impress – or at least make sure nobody clashes.  I asked the girls to wear black leggings but let them choose their sweaters to avoid teenage attitude which would in turn ruin my picture taking session (luckily I didn’t have to ask them to change).

Keep it Simple –  To make the girls and Sushi shine, I kept the props (white adirondack chair) and background simple.

Take Tons of Pics –  Eyes shut, mouths open, frowns, looking away … just some of shots that did not make the cut.

Have Fun –  To avoid the “I am fake smiling just to get you to stop” photos, do whatever it takes to get them relaxed and laughing.

Be Spontaneous – Yes, we all love a well posed shot of everyone smiling and looking directly into the camera but some of the best shots aren’t planned like when Vanessa scooped Sushi high into the air and started kissing her – that shot was a definite keeper!


Photo session – check.  Time to choose the cards.  I usually choose just one photo for our Christmas card but this year I wanted to try something different so when I saw this 3/4 fold card on Shutterfly with the coolest weathered wood theme, I shouted Ho Ho Ho (minus the jiggling belly part).

It’s got lots of room for adding pics and text so you can really keep your friends and family in the loop on how amazing your year has been.

Since there is room for six photos on the front of the card, I chose to make them black and white (you can do this right in Shutterfly) so they wouldn’t compete with each other.  Inside, I went with color photos and on the back, we added a fun little message from Sushi!

Have fun with your holiday cards with these family photo taking tips

Being so organized is definitely going to get me to the top of the nice list (hope Santa isn’t watching me too closely).


Thanks Shutterfly and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia for asking me to be part of Shutterfly by Design.  I only speak the truth.

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  1. Good for you, Kelly! I usually take advantage of their October sales, but this year our entire crew won’t be together until we travel for Christmas, so it will be New Year’s greetings from us!
    Hope you have a great day!
    xo Heidi

  2. Oh! How cute! I love it and you are WAY ahead of the game this year AND way ahead of ME! Those cards are adorable … as so is the fur baby of the family. xo Diana

  3. Just make sure you actually MAIL them. I have two year’s worth of (photo) Christmas cards on my bookshelf that have yet to be mailed. My 2011 Christmas cards were mailed out…. during Easter of 2012!!

    Your card looks fun!! Love the parting words from Sushi on the back.

  4. Ok, so I am officially motivated to work on my Christmas cards! Love how yours came out.
    Now I just have to figure out a way to talk my husband and kids into sweaters in this 90 degree Las Vegas weather!

  5. Absolutely adorable and very darned happy looking photos on your cards, Good for you. Think last two years no cards went out of this house except for people close by. Guess I don’t have to ask you how your new pup is doing, how the family is adjusting to her. She is a cutie and one of the girls. Are your daughters twins? They sure look alike.
    One year I was having knee replacement. The surgery had been scheduled for Dec. 7th. but I had bunches of cards/ornaments to make yet so rescheduled surgery for Dec. 14th.Not good idea cause that meant I came home on Dec. 18th, cutting it pretty close there and I had problem due to reaction to surgery on left leg, I have lymphedema on left leg and it swelled up at least twice size. Not comfortable either. Couldn’t do physical therapy. Anyway when they finally took me into surgery hubs left to find a mail place so he could send all the cards and ornaments. Good thing surgery and recovery take a few hours as it took him while to find post office. He wasn’t too happy with me. No more. Now I have to have my right shoulder replaced. Pretty soon I’ll be the bionic woman. At least I’m worth a lot of money with all my prosthesis, those babies are very expensive, at least $5k each, wonder how much shoulders cost. lol Have great happy Fall

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