DIY Holiday Photoshoot

One of my favorite holiday traditions is sending and receiving personalized holiday cards at the end of the year.

Not only are personalized cards a great way to show family and friends that you’re thinking of them during the holiday season, but it’s the perfect opportunity to share your newest developments and milestones. We started the holiday card tradition the year we were married and have been blessed to share a number of major events since, including the birth of our little Rafa last year.

So despite the hardships of 2020 and the obvious difficulties of getting professional Christmas photos in the middle of a pandemic, I embarked on a DIY Holiday Photoshoot for this year’s holiday card and am thrilled with the results.

Every success story starts with preparation and planning, so here’s how to master your very own DIY Holiday Photoshoot.

Step 1: Choose a theme.

You should always start with a concept or theme to ensure that all elements come together cohesively. This year, I wanted to create a formal and classic Christmas story.

Step 2: Plan the outfits.

I always prefer coordinated rather than matching outfits to create a more sophisticated result (unless you’re going for the uber cute matching Christmas pajamas effect), especially for family photos. I outfitted the baby in a classic holiday look from Janie and Jack, including a plaid bowtie, shawl collar grey sweater, red slacks and shiny black patent leather shoes. For puggy, I simply purchased the same bowtie in a slightly larger size and VOILA! The babies were perfectly coordinated.

Step 3: Create the scene.

Whether you have the perfect holiday vignette somewhere in your home or you’re purchasing a backdrop for your photos, creating the right ambiance requires thoughtfully choosing your backdrop. As a general rule, less is more as you do not want the backdrop to compete with the subjects of your photos. To create my classic Christmas vibe, I purchased a 5×7 fabric backdrop with snowy trees (only $11.99) that I hung on a simple backdrop stand (perfect for creating future photoshoots, party backdrops and photobooths) with enough of the backdrop laid on the ground to create a seamless background. I then placed a furry white throw on the ground being sure to cover the seam of the backdrop to create a lush snowy effect.

Step 4: Check your lighting.

Every great photo requires great lighting. If you are relying on natural sunlight, be sure the light floods the room in which you are taking photos and does not cast shadows on your subjects’ faces. I prefer morning or late afternoon. For our project, I borrowed Sis’ newly purchased continuous video light and softbox to create a fully lit space.

Step 5: Get everyone dressed.

Always wait till the very last minute, after everything is set up to get dressed. This helps to keep everyone looking crisp and camera ready!

Here were the final holiday card contenders!

With everything all set up, I took the opportunity to get some festive shots alone and with the babies too!

Happy Holidays!


Photography | The Sissy Dream Team

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