Top 10 Outfit Ideas For Your Christmas Family Photos

When the weather starts cooling down and holidays Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching on the calendar, you may be planning your holiday-themed family photos. Whether you plan to send out cards to friends and family, or you just want to capture the moment, these portrait style group photos are an American tradition.

One of the elements that really sets these pictures apart from your everyday family photos is the festive attire worn by each member of the family (possibly even your dog too!). These pre-planned outfits really bring the festive holiday cheer, especially when paired with a merry backdrop.

This blog post is meant to serve as a guide for parents who are in the beginning phases of planning their holiday photos. When you’re thinking about the vibe, aesthetic and theme that you’re going for in your family Christmas photos, you want the apparel to match with the surroundings. And you also want the tone to reflect your family’s personality! Is your household silly and goofy? Or maybe more sophisticated and refined? These are the factors that will come to play when planning your photo theme.

When is the Best Time of Year to Plan Your Christmas Photos?

The best time of year to plan your Christmas photos is typically in the weeks leading up to the holiday season. Starting in late November or early December allows you to capture the festive spirit while also avoiding the last-minute rush.

By planning ahead, you can secure a convenient date for your photoshoot, ensuring that everyone in the family can participate without conflicting schedules. Moreover, shooting during this time allows you to take advantage of the holiday decorations, whether it’s the twinkling lights adorning the streets or the lush greenery of a Christmas tree farm.

Additionally, scheduling your photoshoot earlier in the season gives you ample time to order prints or create personalized holiday cards to share with loved ones near and far, spreading warmth and joy throughout the season.

How to Hire a Professional Photographer for Family Holiday Photos

When hiring a professional photographer for your family holiday photos, it’s essential to do your research and find someone whose style aligns with your vision. Start by asking for recommendations from friends or family members who have had positive experiences with photographers in the past. Once you’ve compiled a list of potential candidates, take the time to review their portfolios and see if their aesthetic matches the look and feel you want for your photos. Reach out to inquire about their availability, pricing, and package options, and don’t hesitate to ask questions about their experience, equipment, and editing process.

Schedule a consultation or phone call to discuss your ideas and expectations in detail, and be sure to communicate any specific requests or preferences you have for the shoot. Finally, trust your instincts and choose a photographer who not only has the technical skills and artistic vision but also makes you feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera. By investing time and effort into finding the right professional, you can ensure that your family holiday photoshoot is a fun and memorable experience that results in stunning images.

Where to Find a Local Photographer for Family Holiday Photos:

If you don’t have any standout personal recommendations for photographers, you can use these online apps and directories to find a photographer:

  • Thumbtack – Thumbtack allows you to search for photographers in your area and request quotes based on your specific needs and preferences.
  • GigSalad – GigSalad is a platform that connects you with local photographers, as well as other event professionals, allowing you to browse portfolios, read reviews, and request quotes.
  • The Knot – While primarily known for wedding planning, The Knot also features a directory of photographers who offer family portrait sessions and other types of photography.
  • Snappr – Snappr is an online marketplace that connects you with professional photographers in your area. You can browse portfolios, compare prices, and book sessions directly through the platform.
  • Google Maps/Google Search – Simply searching for “family photographers near me” on Google or using Google Maps to explore photography studios in your area can also yield results.
  • Instagram – Many photographers use Instagram to showcase their work and attract clients. You can search for local photographers using location tags or hashtags related to family photography.
  • Facebook Groups – Local community groups or photography enthusiast groups on Facebook often have members who are photographers or can provide recommendations.

Tips to Selecting the Best Locations and Backdrops for Your Holiday Photos

Selecting the perfect location for your holiday photos can significantly enhance the visual appeal and overall ambiance of your images. Start by considering the theme or mood you want to convey—whether it’s a cozy indoor setting with twinkling lights and festive decorations or a picturesque outdoor scene blanketed in snow. Opt for backdrops that complement your family’s outfits and reflect the spirit of the season, whether it’s a rustic barn door, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, or a scenic winter landscape. Pay attention to lighting conditions as well, as natural light can enhance outdoor backdrops, while indoor settings may require additional lighting to create the desired effect.

Popular Backdrops for Holiday Family Photos:

  • Festively Decorated Christmas Tree
  • Fireplace Mantel
  • Winter Wonderland – Either real snow outside or a faux scene created in an indoor studio
  • Rustic Barn or Wooden Cabin
  • Urban Cityscape – For a modern twist, consider using the city skyline or bustling streets adorned with holiday lights as your backdrop
  • Christmas Tree Farm
  • Victorian-Inspired Parlor – Transport your family back in time with a backdrop reminiscent of a Victorian-era parlor, complete with antique furniture, lace curtains, and vintage holiday decor.
  • Elegant Indoor Setting – Opt for a backdrop featuring a grand staircase, chandeliers, and lavish holiday decorations for a touch of sophistication and glamour.
  • Cozy Living Room – This would be most logical and easy to plan for a pajamas themed photo session
  • DIY Photo Booth – Get creative and set up a DIY photo booth with a festive backdrop made from wrapping paper or sparkling curtains, string lights, and holiday-themed props for a fun and interactive experience. This would be ideal for goofy ugly Christmas sweater themed photos.

Should You Plan On Using Props in Your Holiday Photos?

Using props in your holiday photos can elevate the festive spirit and add personality to your images. From traditional items like wrapped presents and twinkling lights to quirky additions such as Santa hats or reindeer antlers, props offer endless opportunities for creativity and customization. They can help set the scene, evoke nostalgia, or simply add a touch of playfulness to your photoshoot. Whether you’re aiming for a cozy winter scene by the fireplace or a whimsical outdoor setup in the snow, strategically chosen props can enhance the overall aesthetic and bring your holiday vision to life. Just remember to keep it balanced—too many props can overwhelm the scene, while a few well-chosen ones can accentuate the holiday magic captured in each frame.

Easy Holiday Props to Incorporate Into Your Christmas Photos:

  • Christmas Trees
  • Red and White Poinsettia Plants
  • Christmas Cookies and Milk for Santa
  • Fairy Lights (for bokeh effect photography)
  • Wrapped Gifts
  • Christmas Ornaments
  • Faux (or real) snow

Planning a Multi-Generational Family Holiday Photoshoot

Planning a multi-generational family holiday photoshoot is an opportunity to create cherished memories that span generations. The key to a successful photoshoot lies in careful coordination and consideration of everyone’s preferences and schedules. Begin by selecting a date and location that accommodates everyone, ensuring ease of travel and accessibility for older family members.

Discussing themes and outfit coordination in advance adds an element of cohesion to the final images, whether it’s matching colors or incorporating festive props. Additionally, incorporating activities or traditions that resonate with all generations, such as baking cookies or decorating a tree, can foster genuine moments of connection and joy captured on camera.

Candid Photos vs Posed Photos for a Family Christmas Photo Session

When deciding between candid and posed photos for a family Christmas photo session, it’s essential to strike a balance that captures the authenticity of the moment while also ensuring everyone looks their best. Candid shots have a magical way of capturing genuine emotions and interactions, whether it’s genuine laughter or sweet hugs between family members. These spontaneous moments make for heartfelt and memorable images.

Conversely, posed photos offer the opportunity to create more composed and polished portraits, where everyone is perfectly positioned and smiling at the camera. While they may lack the spontaneity of candid shots, posed photos allow for greater control over lighting, composition, and overall aesthetics.

Ultimately, a combination of both candid and posed photos can provide a well-rounded representation of your family, capturing both the raw emotions and the timeless elegance of the season.

Outfit Planning for Family Christmas Photos

As promised, we will go into the details about how to begin planning your family holiday photo outfits. This includes both the adults and children of course.

Should You Wear Matching Outfits?

The answer to this question is really based on your personal style preference. My family has always done some kind of coordinated outfits, but not identical matching. But I know some parents really want that matchy-matchy holiday look. If your plan is to have everyone wearing the same outfit, then you will really have to do your research on where to shop and find everything in multiple sizes.

When should you start shopping for holiday photo outfits?

The anticipation of holiday photos often begins at the tail end of the fall season. To ensure that you are able to achieve the look you want, it’s wise to start shopping well in advance. Ideally, consider beginning your search for holiday photo attire around the time of Black Friday (which is the day after Thanksgiving). This timeframe allows for ample browsing, trying on different styles, and ensuring that everyone in the family has an outfit that complements both their individual personality and the overall theme of the photoshoot.

Additionally, starting early provides the opportunity to take advantage of sales and promotions, ensuring that you can achieve the desired look without breaking the bank. Because our family tends to go for a more eclectic look (meaning not matching), I am usually keeping a lookout for deals all year long for cute holiday themed outfits.

Pet Outfits for Holiday Family Photos

We can’t forget Fido and Kitty when planning family holiday photos! Pet outfits for holiday family photos add an extra layer of charm and whimsy to the pictures. Whether it’s a tiny Santa hat perched atop their furry head or a cozy reindeer doggy sweater, dressing up our beloved pets amplifies the joy and laughter captured in each snapshot. From dapper bow ties to festive bandanas, pet outfits not only enhance the visual appeal of family photos but also show how much our fur babies are part of the family.

Learning About Complimentary Colors for a Harmonious Look

Learning about complimentary colors in clothing is essential for achieving a harmonious look in family Christmas photos. While technically complimentary colors are pairs of colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, in this case you want to make sure that your color tones and vibrancies are not clashing with each other. You also don’t want styles and themes clashing with each other. If you don’t want to go for super matching outfits, you still want to make sure everyone’s looks go together.

The Classic Christmas Pajamas

Classic Christmas pajamas for family photos evoke a sense of warmth, togetherness, and holiday tradition. Often featuring festive patterns such as plaid, stripes, or seasonal motifs like reindeer or snowflakes, these cozy sleepwear sets create a charmingly coordinated look for the whole family. Whether it’s matching two-piece pajama sets or festive onesies, donning these classic Christmas ensembles adds a playful and nostalgic touch to holiday photoshoots. The soft fabrics and comfortable designs ensure that everyone feels relaxed and at ease, making for natural and candid moments captured on camera. From cozying up by the fireplace to sharing laughter over hot cocoa, classic Christmas pajamas remind us of those magical Christmas mornings from childhood.

Holiday Plaids

Wearing coordinating holiday plaids for family Christmas photos is a easy and cheap way to get a cohesive look with everyone’s outfits. They can be easily paired with dark denim or black pants, which most people already have in their closet. Whether it’s vibrant reds, rich greens, or classic tartans, these traditional patterns evoke the spirit of the season and create a visual theme for the entire family. Plaids are especially ideal for outdoor rustic themes, and can also be layered with vests for extra warmth.

Glam Formal Attire

Wearing glam formal attire for family holiday photos elevates the occasion, infusing the imagery with an aura of elegance and sophistication. Opting for glamorous dresses, sharp suits, or sleek tuxedos adds a touch of luxury and refinement to the photoshoot, creating a striking visual contrast against the backdrop of festive decorations or wintry landscapes. From shimmering sequins and luxurious fabrics to tailored silhouettes and statement accessories, glam formal attire allows each family member to showcase their individual style while still maintaining a cohesive and polished look.

If your family is already planning on attending a fancy holiday party, wedding or church event, this may be the perfect time to take advantage of the occasion when everyone is already dressed up and photogenic ready. I suggest bringing along a camera and finding a well-lit spot to take some family photos.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Wearing ugly Christmas sweaters for humorous family holiday photos makes this holiday tradition less serious and more about a fun activity together. These kitschy garments, adorned with tacky patterns, garish colors, and whimsical holiday-themed designs, serve as a delightful expression of seasonal whimsy. From oversized snowmen and gaudy reindeer to jingling bells and flashing lights, ugly Christmas sweaters embrace the joy of the season with unabashed silliness.

When it comes to selecting your ugly Christmas sweater styles, you can opt for customized sweatshirts with the family last name imprinted, or even a funny photo or phrase. You can also shop at your local thrift store for real vintage sweaters from older eras like the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Santa Hats

These iconic red hats, adorned with fluffy white trim and a jolly pom-pom, instantly evoke the spirit of Christmas and add a playful element to the photoshoot. Whether it’s a classic velvet hat or a novelty version with built-in antlers or elf ears, donning Santa hats brings a sense of unity and togetherness as each family member joins in the holiday fun. The simple act of wearing these iconic hats can ignite smiles, laughter, and spontaneous goofiness, creating fun and candid photos.

Après-Ski Fair Isle Sweaters

Wearing Après-Ski Fair Isle sweaters for family Christmas photos exudes a cozy charm reminiscent of winter retreats and alpine getaways. These traditional knitwear pieces, featuring intricate patterns inspired by Nordic designs, add a touch of timeless elegance to the holiday ensemble. With their warm wool blend and classic Fair Isle motifs in classic colors like blue, red, green, and white, these sweaters not only provide comfort but also evoke a sense of nostalgia for winter traditions. Whether gathered around a crackling fireplace or venturing outdoors amidst snow-covered landscapes, donning Après-Ski Fair Isle sweaters creates a picturesque scene that captures the essence of holiday coziness. Perfect for a winter wonderland themed photoshoot!

Red and White Color Scheme

Wearing red and white color-schemed outfits for family Christmas photos creates a visually striking and cohesive look that perfectly embodies the festive spirit of the season. The timeless combination of these colors evokes images of candy canes, Santa Claus, and traditional holiday décor, instantly setting the scene for a joyful and merry photoshoot. Whether it’s matching red sweaters paired with crisp white shirts or coordinating dresses and ties in complementary hues, the red and white color scheme exudes elegance and sophistication while maintaining a sense of playfulness.

All Black Color Scheme

Opting for all black color-schemed outfits for family Christmas photos offers a modern and sophisticated twist on traditional holiday attire. While black may seem unconventional for a festive occasion, its sleek and timeless appeal creates a striking contrast against the backdrop of seasonal decorations or snowy landscapes. Whether it’s coordinating black sweaters, dresses, or suits, this monochromatic look exudes a sense of elegance and refinement. Against the glow of twinkling lights or the crisp white of freshly fallen snow, the sharp silhouette of black attire adds depth and drama to the composition, resulting in visually captivating images.

Neutral-Colored Outfits

Choosing neutral-colored outfits for family Christmas photos creates a timeless and elegant aesthetic that exudes understated sophistication. Shades of beige, cream, taupe, and soft gray form a harmonious palette that complements any setting, whether it’s a cozy living room adorned with twinkling lights or a serene winter landscape. Opting for neutral tones allows the focus to remain on the human subjects, plus the simplicity of neutral-colored attire evokes a sense of tranquility and serenity. Essentially the look is much less busy and there’s no overwhelming distractions from bold colors or over-the-top themes.

Gold or Silver Metallic Sparkle Color Scheme

Dressing in gold or silver metallic sparkle color schemes for family Christmas photos adds a touch of opulence and glamour to the holiday season. These shimmering hues evoke the glimmer of holiday lights, creating a magical atmosphere for the photoshoot. Whether it’s gold sequined dresses, metallic silver blazers, or sparkling accessories, the use of metallics adds a festive and celebratory flair to the occasion. Against the backdrop of a festively decorated home or a winter wonderland landscape, the reflective surfaces of gold and silver garments catch the light, creating a mesmerizing visual effect.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, outfit ideas for your Christmas family photos offer a wonderful opportunity to express the spirit of the season while creating timeless memories. Whether you opt for classic holiday themes like red and green, embrace the whimsy of ugly Christmas sweaters, or exude elegance with neutral tones or metallic accents, the key is to choose attire that reflects your family’s personality and style. By coordinating colors, themes, and textures, you can create a cohesive ensemble of your holiday photoshoot. Ultimately, the most important aspect is to have fun and cherish the moments shared with loved ones, as these photos will serve as cherished mementos for years to come.

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