5 Minute Family Christmas Card Photos

It is Christmas Prep week here at the Nest and one of the most frustrating things around Christmas time is getting the family photo done and getting the cards mailed!  I am here to make things easier on you!  first things first -- TAKE THE PHOTO NOW!  It only takes five minutes and having it checked off the to-do list helps immensely!

PS -- Laura was keen to notice on Tuesday's post that a certain little girl is missing from the photo below :)  These are last year's photos!  This year's photos have to be saved until family sees them before they go up -- look for them in December 2014...because bloggers are weird like that ;)

Ready to get a decent shot in five minutes with a self timer?  Ready.... Set.....

Step # 1 -- Have a prop that keeps everyone in their spots.  Whether it is a banner that they are holding onto (Make you own following my tutorial HERE!), a chair that one person sits in and the others touch, or any object that connects the family, USE IT.  It serves the same purpose as those ropes they use to walk preschool children down the street.  It is harder for the kids to move out of position when they have the "job" of holding onto something.  

Step #2 -- Make sure your family is standing in front of a non-distracting background and that you aren't shooting into bright sunlight. (NOTE:  When it is a nice cloudy day on a Sunday morning when we are already somewhat pulled together, I run everyone outside for these shoots.  Super sunny days or dirty, playing children are not a good match for this 5 minute shoot, k?)

Step #3 -- Set up your camera on a stationary object (I used a stool one year and my potting bench the next.  Use books to adjust the height).  Set the camera on SELF-TIMER mode for 9 clicks and 15 seconds (or longer) and press the shutter halfway down to focus on your family.  You want to use the longest self timer setting you have on your camera because YOU need to get in the shot too for this one!  You also want to use that "9 click" setting (or the largest your camera has) because you want the camera to snap-snap-snap-snap-snap right in a row in hopes of catching all family members with eyes open and a smile!

Lots of pictures ahead...KEEP READING BY CLICKING HERE:

Step 4 -- Run and jump in the picture.  Go back to the camera and make sure everything was in focus.  DO NOT WORRY about making the kids smile yet.  You just want them in place holding that banner to make sure the shot is framed ok, lighting is ok and the shot is in focus.

The camera clicks...


clicks - clicks -  clicks

...AND we have a winner!

NOTE:  I am the one moving around in different positions while the shutter clicks.  THE KIDS DO NOT!  

Some things I said before setting the camera off to click:

Did you know Santa lives inside that camera?  No?  Can't you see him?
Can you sing Jingle Bells?
Do you see that reindeer behind the camera?  What is he doing?
Why did Santa think his sleigh was stinky?  Cuz he FARTED!  (ensue laughter)
Honey -- kiss me!

I also tried some photos with just the kids, but our five minutes were up.  
They were "sillified" (fart jokes can do that) and "proper" photos just weren't happening.

 I DID however grab this shot at the very end and even though #2 is choking #3, 
I love it because that is their life -- choking and all.  Of course, we used the NON-choking photo for Christmas cards...

Okey - Dokey FIVE MINUTES is up!  No more pictures!
Did your shoot fail?  DO SOMETHING ELSE and come back to the picture.  
DO NOT try to just muscle through it.  The kids will break down.
This is family picture time, NOT Zumba.
Stress doesn't work.  Short shoots and bribery DOES.

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Want more DIY Photoshoot Ideas?  I have a bunch!

5 Minute Photoshoot for Infants

5 Minute Photoshoot for Babies - 6 WEEKS

5 Minute Photoshoot for Babies - 6 MONTHS

5 Minute Photoshoot for Christmas Cards

5 Minute Photoshoot with Older, Active Children

5 Minute Photoshoot with a Preschooler

How to Photograph Your Family with a Self Timer

How to Survive a Photoshoot with Kids

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Curious? Here is my wishlist for Christmas this year!


Lauren Lanker said…
This is brilliant! My hubby often has the job of taking our family photos (family meaning EVERYONE on the Lanker side...which is now 16, 6 of whom are all 5 and under). And it's a major stress-fest getting everyone in position and staying in position. I cannot wait to share your tips and tricks with him. (I love the idea of having the kids hold onto something or have a task.) And that photo of hubby kissing you is too sweet for words, Amy. Pinning!
Amy Renea said…
SIXTEEN?!?! That sounds like a horror story!!! Tell your husband I feel badly for him!
Anne said…
Great ideas! We have five kids, 16 years old down to baby, and I am going to use these tips when I torture them all with a family pic next week! :)