I am making a public service announcement that I want EVERYONE to hear:
NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE PICTURE PERFECT.
Yes, that’s right. In our world of social media, it seems like everyone’s life is absolute perfection. But trust me, it’s just the Instagram filters and Photoshop tools that make everything seem fantastic as you scroll through your newsfeed in your favorite sweatshirt, listening to your children bicker in the background while you guys eat bland chicken for dinner. Again.
I struggle a lot with this notion because I love home decor and maintaining a neat and tidy house. But I have two energetic, sticky-fingered little boys. So yes, I have some gorgeous wall hangings that I just love…but I also currently have seven Melissa and Doug puzzles stacked on the fireplace and rogue plastic coral and whales strewn about, as well as a bookcase that is so full it looks like it is going to collapse. Sigh.
Three years into this parenting gig, I have figured out some sneaky ways to make our messy life seem a bit more “Pinterest Perfect,” starting with what can be a dreaded element of the holidays for me: our holiday card.
Since we are a family that celebrates both Hannukah and Christmas, we send out a TON of cards to our family and friends and I always tend to struggle with finding the right wording to appease everyone. So before we had kids, I simply bought different sets of cards to send to people who celebrated either holiday. Everyone was happy, mission accomplished! But once adorable son came along, we just had to change our holiday card to include photos. I mean, he was just too scrumptious not to! So then my holiday card stress moved to getting a perfect picture of the three of us, and it never worked out the way I wanted to.
Enter one of my favorite people in the world, Tracy, a budding photographer. She was more than happy to spend a couple hours with us to photograph our growing family (including the dog) each year, and all of the stress I had about getting the perfect shot and editing it just right fell onto her shoulders (sorry, T!).
Here are links to her blog to check out our family holiday photo sessions:
The best part, other than hanging out with one of my favorite people in the world and having her make us all look great, was that I didn’t feel any stress at all and felt uber prepared to send out our family holiday card. And since most of our yearly photo shoots with T were scheduled in the fall, I had a disc of tons of great pictures to choose from by the time Cyber Monday rolled around, and I scored a GREAT deal on my holiday cards.
So here are my general tips for having a successful holiday photo for your cards:
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*Plan early! If you live in a chilly climate like Chicago and don’t want to be in heavy coats in your pictures, set up a photo shoot between September and early November. You’ll probably have some gorgeous fall foliage in the background as well!
*As for your photo shoot, find someone who you feel comfortable with. If you are new to this whole idea, ask friends for recommendations. Prefer someone who will come to you? Want to be outside? Rather go to a studio? The opportunities are endless! I’m so glad that I have T and have recommended her to many happy families.
*Happy kids make the best pictures. So make sure to keep their schedule in mind when planning your photo shoot, and bring lots of snacks and something fun to keep their focus during photos (bubbles work great for toddlers). Also, that super cute dress you picked out for your little princess might be super itchy. Maybe do a dress rehearsal at home.
*As T taught me, lighting is key! Early morning and late afternoon lighting is gorgeous.
And if all else fails, post a family picture on Facebook and call it a day!