Is there a cuter, more photogenic family than Nate Berkus’? We think not! But great hair, handsome husband (that’d be fellow designer Jeremiah Brent) and two darling children aside, the design expert has some serious credibility when it comes to creating gorgeous, family-friendly spaces — which just happen to make great backdrops for memorable family holiday photos. And lucky for us, he’s sharing his knowledge.
Berkus, who’s dad to 5-year-old Poppy and 2-year-old Oskar, recently teamed up with Starbucks to curate a Holiday At-Home Portrait Series, which features four different families (plus his own!), as well holiday-photo tips and tricks.
SheKnows chatted with Berkus over Zoom (as one does in the year 2020) to find out more about the partnership and how — at a time when holiday photos and cards feel more relevant and important than ever as a way to stay connected to far-off family and friends — the rest of us can capture the perfect Christmas card-worthy pic.
“I got to virtually meet four other families, all very different and in all different areas of the country, who are basically feeling exactly how we’re all feeling: How can I capture these little moments at home that have brought me so much joy and share those with the people that we as a family love, who we’re not seeing in person right now?” he says.
In helping those families capture their own “little moments,” Berkus created a list of holiday photo tips that will help us all do the same. “I really took some time to try and figure out what would make the best holiday card, and I’m happy to share a couple now,” he says.
Embrace your space
“I’ve always believed our homes should showcase the best qualities of ourselves and the people that we love,” he says. “So when you’re taking your holiday portrait, you need to be thinking about your favorite areas in the home. It’s not just at the stairs. It’s not just in front of the fireplace.” Consider more casual gathering spots as a backdrop for your holiday photo — a place where everyone plays, a sunny corner, or an area outside that your family loves, he adds. “It doesn’t need to be so formal.”
Capture the little moments
Anyone with squirmy little kids (Berkus included!) knows that the best photos don’t always come when everyone is trying so hard to keep it together and smile. So embrace the outtakes. “When everybody’s done posing and thinks their hair looks perfect or the kids are, you know, acting out, keep clicking,” he advises. “Those are the moments where you’re going to get the best image, where everybody’s personality really shines through.”
Gather your people
Of course, gathering all of the people you care about most isn’t necessarily possible this year. But 2020, as Berkus says, is a year no one is going to forget, so you’ll definitely want to document it.
Even in the age of social media, where it’s easy to keep up with what friends and family look like and are doing, Berkus appreciates holiday cards. “There’s something nice about having that tradition; that captured moment once a year,” he says. And rather than letting them languish the way so many photos on our phones do, Berkus has a tip for displaying those cards that — no surprise here — is both beautiful and practical (and one we’re totally stealing):
“I found this beautiful leather photo album, and I like putting one card per page because I think it’s such a cute, cool thing to have on the coffee table, to be able to sort of flip through and see how much everybody’s changed,” he says, before clarifying with a laugh: “Hopefully not me, thanks to the advances in dermatology. But I like seeing how my children have changed.”