Best Christmas Photo Ideas: 10 Clever Ways To Make Your Christmas Photo Cards Amazing

Christmas is approaching and for many that means it’s time to prepare Christmas cards and take the family’s annual holiday photo. Some families even combine these two tradition into one — hence the rising trend of  Christmas photo cards. If you’re planning on including your family photo in your holiday greeting this year, here are 10 simple and creative Christmas photo ideas you can use to make your cards amazing.

All great things start with preparation: 
Before you start piecing together photographers, props, and your family’s matching holiday get-up — browse through a few photo albums (on Facebook or at home). Look for photos you love — and most importantly photos you hate; put those photos aside and use them as guidelines for your holiday photo shoot. Decipher which angles flatter your face and body and which hairstyles and outfits make you look wonderful. If you’re taking family Christmas photos, ask the rest of you family to do the same. If you’ll be working with a professional photographer — bring your photos to the shoot. They will help the photographer gain a grasp of what you’re looking for.

1.  Forced Perspective Photos

Play with distance and perspective to create images that trick the eye and the mind. You can use perspective in your photos to make things appear larger, smaller, farther, or closer than they really are.  This is a common camera trick used in fantasy films such as The Hobbit as well as the holiday comedy Elf to make actors appear much smaller than they really are.

best Christmas photo ideas

A couple in the snow.

Get creative and come up with comical or artistic ways to include forced perspective into you family Christmas photos. Friends and family will be sure to get a kick out of your clever and truly original Christmas photo cards.

For a funny family Christmas photo: 
Set your toddler (or youngest child, cat, or dog) up real close to the camera, while you and the rest of your family stand 15 feet away. The perspective will give your toddler (or child or pet) the appearance of a towering giant.

2.  DIY Backdrops

A festive and bright backdrop will really make your holiday photos standout. Check out some of the simple DIY backdrops below, and click on the photos for instructions on how to put them together.

best christmas photo ideas

Chalkboard Backdrop by KerriganPhotography.com.

best christmas photo ideas

Bright Christmas Lights Backdrop by PropInsanity.com.

best christmas photo ideas

Festive Steamer Backdrop by 100LayerCake.com. Photo courtesy of Fresh in Love Photography.

3.  Black and White

Bright and colorful family photos are great, but  if you’re interested in changing things up this year — try including a dramatic black and white photograph in your family’s Christmas photo card instead. Simple monotone shots will let your family photo speak for itself. It will also be fun to incorporate bright and vibrant hues into your Christmas photo card design — the pop of color will contrast nicely against your black and white photo.

best christmas photo ideas

Black and white photo featuring a couple beneath a beautiful display of Christmas lights.

4.  Candid

Include a few candid shots on a Christmas multi-photo card. Have a photographer follow you and your family around and snap candid photos as you decorate your Christmas tree, prepare Christmas cookies, or host a holiday gathering. The natural shots will add personality and convey genuinely happy interactions and holiday moments you and your family have shared.

Christmas photo ideas

Beautiful Christmas multi-photo card by PurpleTrail.com featuring candid family photos.

5.  Bokeh

Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke, which means “blur” or “haze.” Bokeh is a photography technique in which the background of the photo can be manipulated and blurred by using a fast lens, at the widest aperture. This photo technique works especially well with background light, which with bokeh becomes blurry or altered into a specific shape. Check out the Christmas photo cards below for a few examples of what bokeh looks like. Take a look at this video tutorial for simple step-by-step instructions on how to make bokeh Christmas photos of your own.

Christmas photo cards by PurpleTrail.com featuring photos with bokeh backgrounds. 

6.  Pets

Pets are a big part of the family, so don’t forget to include yours in your holiday photo cards. Take a casual photo with your pet or go all out and pose with matching sweaters. Or, you can always make your pet the star of your holiday photo cards. If you really want to overwhelm friends and family with your pet’s cuteness, try decorating your pet with Santa hats, jingle bells, or cute little bows.

7.  Jump for Joy

Jump shots are all the rage these days. And I can see why — they look remarkable, fun, and as if the jumper is caught in zero gravity. This camera trick is pretty easy to pull off; but prepare to jump and jump and jump again – because it may take a while to get your photo just right.

best Christmas photo ideas

Festive Christmas photo card by PuprleTrail.com featuring children jumping.

8.  Glitter

Glitter — we all love it! Throw a bit of it on anything and it will look more glamorous, more beautiful, and more magical! So, why not incorporate it into your holiday photos and cards? Include glitter in your holiday  photos by blowing a handful of it at the camera or create a sparkling glitter backdrop for your family to pose in front of. Or, add a festive holiday photo to one of PurpleTrail’s beautiful glitter inspired holiday photo cards.

best Christmas photo ideas

Faux glitter Christmas photo card by PurpleTrail.com.

9.  Snow

A fresh blanket of snow or a soft winter snowfall will add tremendously to your holiday photos. There are a number of different things you can do in the snow. Consider taking shots of the family: playing in the snow, blowing powdery snow towards the camera, or making snow angels. Or, find a snow-covered forest and use it as your photo backdrop.

best Christmas photo ideas

Falling snow.

Try writing a festive message in the snow. Find a dark surface – like a bench, car, or tree – and use your finger to spell out “Merry Christmas” or “Season’s Greetings.”

Photography Tip: 
Although snow will add abundant shine, shimmer, and atmosphere to your photos – shooting in the snow can be tricky. Follow these simple tips for better photo results in the snow.
  • Turn on Your Flash: Bright white snow reflects sunlight and will fill your pictures with too much light. The excess light will leave your photos looking washed out – without any contrast or details. If you turn on your flash, it will help balance light and leave your photos looking brighter and clearer. It will also fill in dark areas and help you achieve the pictures you desire.
  • Fresh Snow + Bright Colors = Beautiful: Bright or deep tones of red, black, or green will contrast well against a fresh blanket of white snow. Try coordinating your outfits ahead of time – go for bright and bold tones!

10.  Photo Timeline

On PurpleTrail.com you can create your very own Christmas card designs froms scratch. That means, you can add as many photos and embellishments as you like.

Consider taking advantage of our great customization options by creating a card that features a fun and festive Christmas family photo timeline. Scrounge through old photo albums and scrapbooks to find your favorite holiday photos — the older the better! Scan and upload your pictures, then add them to one of PurpleTrail’s Christmas photo card templates.

Add funny quotes, dates, and special life events to your timeline as well as a brief description of each photo. Friends and family will love seeing how much you and your family has changed! The card will also make a wonderful Christmas keepsake.

Hope These Christmas Photo Ideas Inspired You!

Good luck and enjoy celebrating the season with amazing photos and stationery! Hopefully these 10 creative Christmas photo ideas gave you what you need to create marvelous Christmas photo cards your friends and family will love! Also, if you’re in need of Christmas present inspiration — take a look at this DIY Holiday Gifts article.

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