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The Best Family Holiday Photo: 10 Themes For The Perfect Shot

family wall in entry way

Getting that best holiday family photo can be stressful — it takes patience, planning, and coordination with all members who are involved. After all, you might be sending it with your annual holiday card to all your closest friends and family! You may even want to send it framed as a gift to someone special.

However, creating your family holiday photo doesn’t have to be so daunting. By figuring out exactly what kind of look you’re aiming for, the actual process of taking the photo is quite simple. Just remember to relax and be yourselves in the photo — any family photo should show off exactly who your family is, along with all the growth and changes that have occurred since last year.

To ensure you create the best family holiday photo possible, we’re sharing 10 photo themes for you to consider and experiment with. From here, you just need to get snapping!

1. Nature

Family laughing in nature.

Nature backdrops are a go-to when it comes to family holiday photos. With a natural background, the photo is all about the subjects — you! Where exactly you choose for your nature background is all up to you. Common settings include the beach, woods, photos among the fall leaves, parks, and areas with tall and picturesque grass.

Perhaps the best thing about choosing nature as your family holiday photo background is that the shot can be taken at any time of the year. Whenever you get the chance, you can go out to your favorite spot with your family, and snap away! It doesn’t cost a thing to be out in nature, and that’s truly something to take advantage of when it comes to finding the background for your holiday photo.

Consider coordinating the outfits of your family members. Color scheme matters, and it will affect the overall mood of the photograph. Think of the setting you will be taking the photo in, and choose your colors from there. Different tones of the same color are always safe, or simply find some colors that complement each other well!

2. Holiday

Family decorating the Christmas tree.

Nothing says family holiday like a good old holiday-themed photograph. Think of all of your festive decorations, Christmas trees, and outdoor lights! Even your past holiday photographs can be framed and incorporated into your holiday decorating. The possibilities are endless when it comes to showing off your holiday spirit.

Our biggest tip? Relax when you take your photos. The holidays are all about family, fun, and being with each other. If you are too stiff and stressed throughout your photoshoot, it will show! A more candid shot makes for a more family-oriented picture.

Lastly, when it comes to attire for your holiday-themed photograph, think festive! If you celebrate Christmas, reds and greens could be an option. If you celebrate Hanukkah, consider blues and silvers. On the other hand, perhaps coordinate your family’s outfits with the setting you’re in and what colors will complement the background well.

3. Formal Studio

Family posing for picture in front of plain backdrop.

Many families choose to hire a professional photographer and acquire more formal looking photos taken in a studio. Of course, this is not a requirement for a great family holiday photo, but if you’re venturing out for special formal pictures, why not use them as your holiday card or take it a step further and give them as framed gifts, too!

As with anything, you can make your professionally done photographs anything you want them to be. Choose your studio backdrop carefully — perhaps you’d like a patterned background or a simple plain colored background — and definitely figure out your outfits beforehand.

Professionally done photographs are great to send but they also make the perfect gift, especially for family who are far away. Get them framed and send them to aunts, uncles and (especially) grandparents. Family photos of any kind are always a treasure to receive!

4. Travel

Dad carrying son on shoulders while surfing.

Family holiday photos are a good way to update family and friends on your family’s growth and changes throughout the past year, so why not include your travels? After all, your adventures are a huge part of your family’s experiences and were probably an exciting part of your year.

When using a travel photo for your family holiday photo, you’ll be selecting a picture from those you had taken previously. Perhaps just choose your favorite family shot from your trip, using the photo with the most wow-factor scenery, or just select the photo you all look great in.

Not sure where to take your next family trip? Check out the 40 most beautiful places in America for some ideas!

5. Winter

Kids being pulled in a sled.

The winter season provides the most stunning scenery and picturesque backgrounds for your family photo. In addition, there are so many winter activities and sports your family is probably already taking part in.

Using a winter-themed family holiday photo is a great choice for your annual greeting card — think snow!

6. Silly

Goofy family holiday photo at dinner table.

Your family hopefully has tons of fun together, so why not reflect that in your holiday photo with a silly shot? Capture the candids that make you smile when you look at them and spread that happiness to your family and friends!

There are so many possibilities when it comes to silly family photos. Maybe it was a goofy selfie from dinner, a photo of your funny pet, or a messy mistake. It can be a candid moment or a staged scene. Just find those photos that capture your family’s silly side and share them with your friends and family to bring them a laugh too.

7. Kids

Two girls laughing.

Let’s face it, your kids are most likely the biggest part of your lives and photos of them are crowding your camera roll. A photo of just the kids is another great choice for your family holiday photo.

Choose a picture that captures how they’ve changed throughout the year or a shot that brings a smile to your face. Every child is different and will have varying interests and personalities, and your photo should capture that!

The best part about kids’ photos is that since you’re not in them, you have all the power to take the photo. A professional might not know or even physically be there for the moment you want to capture.

On the other hand, you can still hire a professional for their expertise with the camera — the choice is truly up to you when it comes to using a kids’ shot for your family holiday photo.

8. Traditions

Couple cooking dinner together.

Every culture, person, and family has their own traditions, especially during the holiday season. Show off these traditions in your holiday photo to share with all of your friends and family.

Of course, traditions vary for everyone. Perhaps it’s as simple as selecting your Christmas tree, decorating the house, or preparing a holiday dinner together. Capturing these moments as a family is special, and surely make for a great holiday photo.

9. Occasions

Son kissing his mothers pregnant belly.

Each year brings exciting events, surprises, and picture-worthy occasions. If something big happened this past year, use it as your family holiday photo!

Only you know the big things about your family’s past year. Maybe it was a wedding, a baby, or a championship soccer game. Find an occasion that mattered to your family, and share it with everyone! Sharing an event from the past year is a great way to recap something big that happened to you all.

10. Recreate an Old Photo

man and child silhouette on beach
father and children silhouette on beach
family silhouette on beach

There’s nothing like a trip down memory lane! Has your family taken a picture in the past that has always been one of your favorites? Consider recreating a picture from when the kids were younger to bring back memories and give everyone a good laugh.

Try to match the setting, pose, and outfits of the picture but still make it obvious that it’s a recreation. Put the two pictures side by side to show how much has changed (or hasn’t)!

Share Joy With Your Family Holiday Photos

We hope you feel more confident in taking on the task of your family holiday photo. Remember, every family is different, and your holiday photo should reflect all the personalities and occasions that made your year special to your family.

From professionally done photos to impromptu silly selfies, the choice for your family holiday photo is all yours. Simply choose the shot you’d like to share, whether as your holiday card to all those on your list, or a framed gift for those special someones.

Looking for ways to display your family photos in your home with custom picture frames? Check out our post on family inspired picture frames!

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