Raleigh Portrait Photographer for Creative Small Businesses

5 Holiday Self Portrait Essentials

With the holiday season fast upon us, I was extra prepared this year to get those holiday photo cards ready for print. I hate the feeling of scrambling (and missing all the awesome holiday card promotions) and then fretting over whether or not I'll receive my cards in time. 

5 holiday self portrait essentials for holiday photo cards

I was worried Matt and I wouldn't find time to take our photo -  there was just no way we'd be able to hire a photographer (something I long to do, by the way!), so we headed to our back yard and snapped a few portraits - and double win - it was Matt's birthday, so now we have some nice couple portraits of us on such a special day!

Couple Self Portrait - Holiday Photo Card - Golden Hour

So, as a late participant to Kiki's monthly blog topic and link up, The Circle, I give you my 5 essentials to getting that family self portrait done in a pinch. 

5 Holiday Self Portrait Essentials

1. Festive Accessories

I always tell clients to wear what they're most comfortable in - no need to go out and buy a brand new wardrobe - you may not like what you get, or find it comfortable for photos. I also recommend wearing jewel tones as they compliment all skin types. The fun comes with accessories. To give our family photo a festive feel, I dressed my outfit up with a fun red scarf and bright red lipstick. 

2. golden hour

Golden hour refers to the hour before sunset (or after sunrise) when light turns everything to a shimmery golden color. Photography Tip: Change your camera white balance to "shade" or "cloudy" to help bring out the golden tones in your sunset photographs. 

pet portrait of Chester, Golden Hour

3. Tripod

Probably the most important essential! Not only does a good tripod (<-- my mom bought me this one 5 years ago, and it's amazing!) control camera shake, but it allows you to have a stable support for your camera. Really no explanation necessary when taking a self portrait. :)

Probably the most important essential! Not only does it control camera shake, but it allows you to have a stable support for your camera. Really no explanation necessary when taking a self portrait. :)

4. Camera Remote

A camera remote is so helpful if you don't want to be running back and forth to compose and focus your shot and then pose really quick before the camera timer goes off. You can get them fairly cheap online, just make sure it's compatible with your camera!

5. Holiday Photo Card Design

Minted.com allows you to pre-purchase a photo card design. So helpful as I wanted to take advantage of a great promo code I received from their newsletter subscription. I was able to pick out a design I wanted, take advantage of the deal and purchase, and then later go back and add my photos and words. LIFE SAVER! Also, picking out your holiday photo card design in advance helps you plan for how you want to take your picture. By picking out a design, I knew I needed a horizontal photo and for our faces and other important details to not be near the bottom of the photograph where the design would be printed.

Family Self Portrait - Our Minted.Com Holiday Photo Card



1. Did you do the whole "purchase a card design now" and personalize later thing?

2. Do you hire a photographer or attempt family selfies for Christmas cards?


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