Avoid a family photo disaster
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Say Cheese1 of 9
By Monica Corcoran Harel
Smile! 'Tis the season of the annual holiday family photo. Unfortunately, we've all received a Christmas card or two (or three) that made us cringe rather than cheer. Make sure this year's pic doesn't wind up on Awkward Family Photos with these tips from photo professionals for mastering the art of the holiday photo.
Festive Faux Pas2 of 9
Jingling bells, snowmen and holiday wreaths on clothing have become fodder for websites and ugly holiday sweater parties. What about a few snowflakes on a cardigan, you ask? Prints in general can look too busy, especially in a group picture.
Mix It UP3 of 9
Though it may be tempting to have everyone match perfectly, the effect is actually distracting. Instead, pick a color palette that includes a few complementary shades and make sure everyone incorporates those hues into their look. "It could be a tie or a dress or a cardigan," says Boucher. "Just keep it subtle."
Ho, Ho, No!4 of 9
Who can forget Elaine's infamous holiday card nip slip on Seinfeld? While there's no need to hide your body in frumpy oversize clothes, keep in mind that a lot of holiday cards end up on the mantel for family viewing. Play it safe: Pre-approve the image after a couple takes to make sure it's ready for public consumption.
Loosen Up5 of 9
Forced smiles? Stiff shoulders? "A formal portrait in a studio can look stuffy," says Lisa Wong Jackson, custom designer of stationery for her line Good on Paper. She advises clients to experiment with candid shots outside and to express their personalities: "Have the kids throw leaves in the air or build a snowman if you want a more playful card," suggests Jackson.
Humble Pie6 of 9
It's one thing to mention your fancy new car or newly built 10,000-square-foot home in passing, but posing in front of it for your holiday card is just showing off. Put materialistic props and luxe vacation pics aside and let your own rich inner spirit shine through.
Keep It Real7 of 9
Sure, it's tempting to use Photoshop to insert George Clooney into your brood. (Or perhaps insert yourself into the Jolie-Pitt clan?) But in the age of tabloid overload, it's more refreshing to see a photo without a celebrity. As for airbrushing, retouch at your own risk. Nip and smooth too much and you'll have some explaining to do at the next family reunion.
Get a Room8 of 9
The holiday spirit is infectious, but too much affection in a photo can be a turn off. Keep it classy: Save the mistletoe pictures for your own personal album.
Doggone It9 of 9
Of course, you love your little pooch and no doubt, he's an integral part of the family. But instead of adding a set of antlers or an angel's halo, let Fido be Fido. Remember, dogs and cats are pets, not props.