Snowstorm Survival Guide, part 3: Create your own photo shoot

Last year my husband gave me one of the best gifts ever- a gift certificate for a family portrait shoot.  Because one of us is always behind the camera- and lately, the other is holding a baby and picking up socks, bottles, raisins, etc off the floor- we have very few photos of all of us.

It was really fun getting our portrait done by a professional.  But it was also really expensive.  And I can’t show you the end result, because the photographer retains the rights to the images so we’re not allowed to upload them.  Not cool, man.

So lately I’ve been once again lamenting our lack of photos and it hit me.  Why don’t we get dressed up and have a photo shoot day at home?  In the excitement of waking up to piles of snow, we had visions of happy family photos full of wooly hats and snowmen.  Here’s what we got:


Clearly that wasn’t going to work.  And our daughter was turning blue.  We quickly decided that the more traditional family-in-front-of-the-tree pose was the way to go.  Much better… most of the time.  Since our 3-year-old is in perpetual motion, we learned that the best way to capture a good shot was to just keep snapping away.  Here’s a real gem:


Yes, I’m telling her off.  Priceless.

The big lesson we learned was to let go of our expectations.  Trying to create a perfect family photo wasn’t going to work and when remembered that this was supposed to be fun family time, we had a lot of fun.

Here’s a few other things that helped:

Props.  If I had been really organized, I would have done the photo booth thing with hats, boas, fake moustaches, etc.  However our photo shoot was done relatively on the fly, so I quickly grabbed a few things we had nearby- candy canes, reindeer antlers (which originally belonged to the dog), a colorful balloon, and a decorative pillow.  They added color to the photos, and a lot of fun to the moment.

12-13 Christmas 01

Filters.  What did we do before Iphone filters? Our pics were taken on a digital SLR because we are fortunate enough to have been given one, and I use a free editing software called Photoscape to cover up blemishes (thanks to my favorite feature, ‘clone stamp’) and add some nice effects.  But you can get great shots with a smart phone too.  My favorite app is Tadaa which has a lot of fun filters and frames to choose from.  But beware- like Instagram this app is designed to automatically upload your photos to their website.  If you’re taking pictures of kids you may not want that, so you’ll have to learn how to switch that feature off.


(this sofa had laundry on the back of it.  I kid you not.)

Going with the flow.  This was one of the most special spontaneous activities we’ve done this Christmas.  I love that technology is encouraging people to take more pictures of the things they love or are inspired by.  And you don’t have to have kids in it to take a creative holiday photo.  Go grab your smartphone and your family, or friends, or colleagues (if yours are that way inclined) and start snapping.  I highly recommend it.



2 thoughts on “Snowstorm Survival Guide, part 3: Create your own photo shoot

  1. Aw Rachel, the photographs are gorgeous as always. I’ve always wanted a decent camera to get the picture I have in my imagination, but I end up being able to see the edges of the pixels, or get the back of someone’s head, or the children have moved so fast they’re out of the frame completely! So, thank you for those recommendations :-) xxx

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