6 Tips for Great Holiday Pictures and Cards

This post is sponsored by Minted, but all opinions are my own. See further down for full disclosure.
Family Christmas Photo | happy together
I am not a “professional” photographer, but I have taken quite a few pictures over the years and have learned some tips for holiday photos that I wanted to share that may help out.

1. Get the BEST light! Nothing compares to that glorious hour before sunset light (the golden hour) in my opinion. You can make it work in other lighting and times of day, but for natural light photos try to take them during that hour before sunset. It makes pictures magical.

Christmas Lights Family Picture | happy together
But what if the weather is bad or a time cannot work during the day? Get creative! You can always create a festive photo with some Christmas lights added your photo.

Christmas Couple Picture | happy together
2. Use props that accent your photo (if you like). Some people love props, some don’t. Just find ones that flow together and go with where you are taking pictures.

Couple Christmas Photo with Blanket | happy together
Even a simple blanket can add warmth and coziness to pictures.

Christmas Kid Picture | happy together
3. If there are children in your pictures bring along a helper to help keep an eye on them and to stand behind the photographer that can jump around and be silly to help get their focus in the camera’s direction and hopefully help create some natural smiles. When you are in the picture with them, it helps you focus on just looking poised nice in the pictures instead of trying to look at them and get them to do what you want. I always tell the parents, just look at me (for the posed ones). The kids will smile if they want, but if not, they are being them and nothing wrong with that ;)

4. Take sample pictures of yourself in your outfit before your official pictures. I have had so many women so upset with their outfit choice when they get their pictures back. Even though they look great, they weren’t happy with how the clothing hung or was clingy. We can’t always see all of our angles when looking in a mirror, so a picture helps you get more of a view of what the camera will see, which is a flattened version of 3d life.

5. DO NOT STRESS!!!! Almost everyone does it, but the less stressed you are the better the picture will turn out. I promise! And it makes for a more fun experience. So what if kids are not being the most cooperative. The more they feel your stress the worse experience it will be.

6. Last but not least, choose a good quality printing company to have those holiday cards printed. Minted does such a great job! I have had many a picture printed from all kinds of printing services and Minted truly provides a great quality product, hence why I work with them. Plus, they have a ton of great designs to choose from, like the ones below. Check out their holiday photo card collection.

Holiday Card Option from Minted.com Holiday Card Option from Minted.com Holiday Card Option from Minted.com
And guess what? They are having an amazing deal on this cyber Monday! You can get 20% off all holiday cards and 25% off everything else. If you like the holiday cards but don’t have a photo ready for them yet, you can do the buy now, personalize later option. Go check out Minted and get your cyber Monday deal :)

 

I parterned with Minted  for this post and received compensation for doing so. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting businesses that support Happy Together.

Chicken Day

Chicken Day | happy together
This morning we awoke at our usual time but scurried to get out the door a little bit earlier than usual for a special date. A date with some chickens. Which then turned out to also be a date with some bunnies and turtles too. Our friends own all of these animals and I asked if my girls could come over and help feed them one morning since they both love animals so very much. My girls were so excited they even skipped their breakfast this morning! Fortunately, my good friend had us covered and greeted us with fresh donuts and kolaches from a local bakery. Yum! Now, I want to talk a little bit about photography.

Chicken Day | happy together
I love pictures. I especially love taking pretty pictures. I have taught myself how to shoot in manual mode with raw files and have tried to find my editing style over the years. It’s hard teaching yourself sometimes, but am I ever so grateful for all the people who share their knowledge online. I knew this morning I wanted to really just try and get some fun shots of my girls having fun with the hope to print some out for their rooms. I used my Canon 7D and 32mm f/2 Canon lens. I was happy with the pics and challenged myself in the editing department this time. I would only edit in Lightroom (I have version 3….I know I need to upgrade! lol). I usually do a lot in Photoshop Elements 8 (yes, another one I should update as I think it’s up to 12 or something now). I had bought the VSCO film 1 a while ago because I loved the film look and decided to use that as main editing. I feel like I like the clean and bright sstyle when doing product/craft stuff, but tend to prefer the film or vintage feel on lifestyle photos. I even figured out the right way to export these to the size my blog needs and add a text watermark. It took me hardly anytime to edit a ton of pics! I was so happy. I think I will try this some more and learn more about using Lightroom, especially if I upgrade it. I’m going to go to bed now, so enjoy the rest of the pics. *And make sure to challenge yourself in an area you want to grow in this weekend.* -Jess

Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together

Christmas Pictures at the Park

Christmas Pictures

Happy New Year everyone!  I’m trying to get back into the swing of things over here. I took some time off to enjoy some family that came and visited and to just focus on taking of the girls because my hubby was out of town for a month for some work training. We weren’t able to pull off Christmas pictures as a family, but I did try to get some pics of the girls. They were less than cooperative, but who could blame them? We were in a beautiful state park on a gorgeous day and the deer were out! I will just let the pics speak for themselves for this post ;) I’m happy to be back and ready to share crafty things! I’m hoping to make some good changes over on this little space this year as long as time allows.
-Jess

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Family Session in the Park

M Family Session

I have been a little more busy with photo sessions recently and it’s been so much fun! I did these of my friend and her family and was so excited when she agreed to let me do that at a local state park. I had always wanted to do a session here. We had a lot of fun planning it and all the spots we would use. The park was gorgeous and so was the sunshine! Apparently it’s the place to be too. I bet there were at least 7 other photographers there taking pictures of families. It figures since it’s so beautiful and there aren’t many beautiful places that are public around here. We had to wait our turn at a few of these spots lol.

M Family Session
M Family Session
M Family Session
M Family Session

I tried to get a good mix of portrait pics and lifestyle ones. It was fun capturing the boys in their element!

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Tomorrow is a big day of photography for me as well. I’m doing mini sessions! All proceeds will be going to the missions program at my church and I’m excited to see how it goes. I always enjoy trying things out to see if they are for me or not. Anyone else doing family pictures soon?
-Jess

The Wedding

A & L Wedding

It took me long enough to share these didn’t it? I think after everything I needed some rest and then the girls got sick, and then life, so I let the blog go to the back burner for a bit. But with fall in the air (kind of…I mean a high of only 84 was spectacular this past weekend!), I’m feeling ready to get back down to business. Here are some of the pictures I took at my brother and sister in law’s wedding. I have never done a wedding, so I was a bit nervous. Especially since I didn’t really have some of the equipment I would have preferred to have (like off camera flash at night), but it all worked out. Thankfully they are super easy to please and it was fun to be able to bless them with this.

A & L Wedding

They had the wedding ceremony and reception at The Freight Shed in Yorktown, VA. It was such a beautiful day!!!! It was a little cool and the sun was perfect. I worked hard to make sure I got all the standard pics as well as some fun ones. They are a laid back and fun couple and you can see that in their wedding. Everything went well overall and turned out beautiful. I think the only mishap was the bride’s shoes could not be found. Fortunately, there were some other shoes that worked. Enjoy the pics and I plan to be back with some crafty things here soon :)
-Jess
See their engagement pics here
See flower girl dress I made here

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