Using Your Smart Phone for Holiday Card!

Folks, we have officially entered the holiday season! Not more than a month ago it felt like we still had ages to those book plane tickets, plan our holiday meals, and buy the perfect gifts for our loved ones. While you’re brain is working out the logistics of everything else you still want to send out your annual holiday card to your friends and family but haven’t had the time to hire a photographer to take a new family portrait. Don’t fret, you can do it yourself! Here’s a few tips how to take family photos on your smart phone.

The age-old tale of less is more holds true to a family portrait, especially for a Christmas card! When you start planning your quick photo session, keep it simple. There’s no need to go out and buy an expensive camera for this, ask a close friend of the family if they wouldn’t mind snapping a few photos on your smart phone. The nice thing about our phones now is that the camera technology continues to get better with each model! This way if it’s a close friend your family is already going to be comfortable and wont have a problem relaxing and being themselves!

When you’re choosing what the background should be, pay close attention to the lighting. You will want a location that has even lighting since shooting with a smart phone doesn’t allow you to control any of the settings. Choosing an area with even lighting will help reduce shadows and your camera will have a better time keeping focus unlike a location with lots of backlighting! Unless you’re going for a high contrast look, don’t use the flash! Keep it natural!

Other things to keep in mind would be to choose a neutral background so when grandma receives your card in the mail she can see exactly what’s going on and isn’t distracted by what’s happening in the background. Think about using a tighter shot so the family fills the frame. This will be a great way to show those pearly whites and really capture the character of your family! Just like the background, your outfits should also be neutral. Solid colors work better than patterns because they’re less distracting and patterns don’t always print well. I’m a strong believer in using props, it makes the photo so much more interesting! You guessed it, keep these simple as well! The holidays are a great time to break out the super cutesy props like a banner that say’s “Joy,” wrap twinkle lights around the tree your next to (or even the kiddos!) or use a vintage sled the kids can pile on. (Yes, your husband does count as a kid and can pile on!)

Once you have decided on the final photo(s) for your card, I suggest pulling them into a photo editing app. I personally love using VSCO, it gives you the ability to go in and adjust exposure, contrast, sharpness, etc and even save it the original file size. (Saves from any compression!) After this you’re ready to go to the printers!!  For more tips on editing photos from your phone, I who you in this video my process.

I hope this helps ease any holiday stress about getting it all done. Taking the photos on your phone works because it allows you and your family to feel relaxed since this is a normal everyday thing for many of people. Does your family have any Christmas card traditions such as writing a letter to wrap up the year or plan out a silly theme each year? Share in the comments I would love to hear about them!

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Jana Williams
Photography

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