Christmas Card Photos: How to Pose, What to Wear

Professional photographer Jessica Kettle has tips on how to look casual, but cohesive – and capture personality in your photos.


Posing does not have to be difficult or elaborate, here are some of my favorite poses that are easy to recreate on your own.

The “Non-pose”

This one may just be the easiest to do on your own because it doesn’t require everyone looking and smiling at the camera (whew!). Just find a comfortable place for everyone to sit or stand and let everyone do his or her own thing. Talk to each other, watch your kids as they play and laugh with each other, tickle your baby’s toes, give your toddler (or even your spouse!) a kiss and just see what happens. Some of the most precious images are the ones that capture your family’s normal interactions. Jumping, crying, laughing, running, or whatever it is that makes you YOU. Anything goes!

Holding Hands

Put parents in the middle and let everyone line up on both sides- tallest kids closest to mom and dad, smaller kids toward the outside. Babies can be held by a parent or even sit on the ground on the end of your line. (Very cute! Works especially well with bigger groups).

For a variation, get a shot of your younger kids holding hands with the parents, but zoom in on the lower half of the shot so you see the kids’ whole bodies, but mom and dad’s legs and hands only. That way you don’t even have to blow dry your hair to be in the Christmas card picture!

Find a lap

For this shot, parents have a seat and place the youngest kids on the parents lap (one child per lap). If you have more than one or two kids, place older children sitting, kneeling or next to the parents, depending on how tall they are and how well you can see them.


Colors and Pattern

Whether you want a neutral palate or lots of color, make sure you have a mix of at least three colors to avoid looking too “matchy.” Everyone dressed in a white polo and jeans is a thing of the past! If you want a lot of color, make sure to start with a base of at least one neutral color (white, chocolate brown, gray) and add color from there, That way, you will still coordinate even with a lot of different colors in your photo. Also, there is nothing wrong with some pattern or even a lot of patterns in your clothing.


Layers are key! Don’t be afraid to wear a t-shirt, a zip up sweater and a blazer. Or a skirt, tights, belt, camisol and a cardigan. The more layers you have the more texture and interest it will add to your pictures. For great examples of how to layer, check the JCrew clothing websites for adults and children:

They also have a lot of great ways to mix color and add details to your outfits while still coordinating with your group.

Keep it Cozy

Dress your kids warm and take advantage of the wintry season for a cozy look. Coats, hats, mittens and scarves are all fun ways to add color, pattern and texture to your picture and they make your picture so much more fun and festive for the holiday season.

Jessica Kettle is a professional photographer specializing in family, child,
newborn, wedding and commercial photography.
For more information and examples of Jessica’s work, visit her website

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