Creative themes and background ideas for family photos

The holidays are coming soon, and it's time to start planning your family's holiday photo! This is the time of the year when family and portrait photographers are booked solid, but even if you're relying on your old point-and-shoot camera, you can still get an interesting shot. Shutterfly has a great online site, Family Photo Days, with tips and tools for taking great family photos. They also have days and times when families will get together to share ideas, take each other's photos, and give the kids something to smile about and make capturing that perfect photo easier.

This year we had our photos taken by the amazing Erin of ErinLeigh Photography, but there have been many years when we took our holiday photos ourselves. Here are some things we did to make our holiday photos more interesting and fun:

* One year, we dressed the kids in the same red holiday sweater. This looks really cute with young children, not so much with older kids and grownups!

* Another year, we dressed the kids in coordinating holiday outfits and identical Santa hats.

* One year, I decided to do a photo collage of the kids. To give it a holiday theme, I painted holiday designs on their faces.

* We still haven't done this, but one of these years I want to dress the kids all in red, and arrange their bodies to spell out the word JOY. We've already done something similar to celebrate Alfie's aunt's 100th birthday, so I'm sure it would be a big hit.

* Two years ago we showed off our house, posing on our front steps and in our back yard. Alfie and I have put a lot of work into getting our home the way we want it to look, so we wanted to show our labor of love to family and friends.

* This year we went for a red background using the red metal outline of the Golden Gate bridge! We had our photo shoot at Crissy Field. Unfortunately, it was a really foggy day, so our Golden Gate Bridge shots didn't turn out so well -- but it's such a lovely park, our photos turned out great anyway. The natural light in outdoor locations always looks great, your kids can run around and get those ants out of their pants, and the photographer always gets great action shots.

Stay tuned for photos from our latest family photo session with Erin -- and good luck with your own photos! Say cheese!

Disclosure: I will be receiving free photo cards from Shutterfly as a thank-you for writing this post. Check out, they have tons of holiday cards and photo gifts , and visit Shutterfly's Family Photo Days site for tips on how to take great photos, a list of professional photos, Photo Day events and even a contest to win free cards for a year! The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

1 Comments, Leave yours here:

Heather! on December 5, 2011 at 6:46 AM said...

These are great ideas! I love the JOY idea...what a wonderful card that would make, plus it would be a lot of fun just doing it. And I also love the photo of your son with his face painted! It's so original, and makes for an awesome photo!

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