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How to look your best in holiday photos

So much can go wrong with a family Christmas card — red eyes, poofy hair, shiny faces, bad lighting. That does not a fridge-worthy picture make! Take these tips from a professional photog to ensure you look your best in your holiday photos.

Holiday family photo

As the weather turns cooler this year, you’re probably planning your family’s perfect holiday photo session. These simple tips from Los Angeles-based photographer Andie Kallinger will ensure your holiday cards end up on the fridge and not at the bottom of the pile.

1Watercolor scarfBe yourself

Forego the matching khakis and white shirts and dress comfortably. Be bold with your wardrobe selection, if that’s who you are. Let your clothing reflect your personal style. Your friends and family don’t want to see a stranger when they open your card — they want to see you! Whether your style is quirky, preppy, rock-and-roll or trendy, don’t repress your inner fashionista on the day of our photo session.  

Check out these fabulous fall accessories and these cheap and stylish flats for moms on-the-go >>

2A belly laugh is better than a smile

Laugh! No, really laugh. Your holiday photo should reflect the joy in your life, not a rehearsed smile. Don’t be afraid to be silly while you’re taking photos. Natural smiles shine through when you’re having fun. Tell a (short) funny story, lay a kiss on your neighbor, or mention a family “inside joke” to bring out the giggles.

Check out these 6 fall lips trends >>

3Touring America OPIFind the perfect setting

Choose a comfortable setting. For some, this may be a picturesque meadow, the bank of a babbling brook or the beach. For others, it could be your family room, your back yard, or even a train station. Don’t feel pressured to follow the trends you see in holiday cards year after year. A unique piece of urban architecture, an old tree stump in the woods or a bright red swing at your local park can all serve as interesting photo backgrounds.

4Look your best

With all of the factors involved in arranging a holiday photo session, it is sometimes easy to overlook primping the models. Every family member should schedule a haircut and, if necessary, color treatments one week prior to your holiday photo day.  Also consider getting a manicure/pedicure one to two days prior. These little details will really stand out (and not in a good way) if they are ignored.

The night before your photo session, make sure all the details have been worked out. For example, outfits are picked out, nails are clean, hairstyles have been chosen and, most importantly, make sure to leave early enough so you’re not rushing to get there. 

5Don’t stress

Relax and shake out the stress, especially if you have young kids.  Your relaxation will be contagious (the opposite is also true). Stand tall, take a deep breath and your shoulders will settle naturally rather than appear stiff. If you have young children, make your photo session an adventure, rather than a hectic obligation. If your family enjoys the experience, everyone will look forward to next year’s holiday card.

6Flatter yourself

Another way to ensure your photos turn out well is to wear colors that flatter your hair color.

Red hair

For redheads, greens are always a top choice, especially an emerald green. Choose a mossy or olive green for a subtle look that will bring out the highlights in your hair. Neutrals such as black, navy and tan are another great choice. Don’t be afraid to add some vibrant color, though. Purples with blue undertones are stunning on redheads, as well as turquoise and deep blueberry colors.

For more tips for redheads, check out:


Red hair

Dark hair

If you’re a dark-haired beauty then warm colors are your feature enhancers. Think autumn colors such as gold, bronze, orangey-reds and browns. Blues also complement you well such as denim and navy, turquoise and cobalt. Depending on your shade of brunette, pastel colors are also a great pick. You can go dark, as well such as ruby reds and plums.

For more tips for brunettes, check out:

Dark hair

Blonde hair

If you’re having more fun as a blonde, then the colors that work well with your hair color are soft colors such as light blue, pink, green and yellow. Bold colors are another pleaser for you such as true reds and purples. Stay away from reddish purples and burgundy because they’ll wash you out.

For more tips for blondes, check out:

Blonde hair

Watch: How to look thinner in photographs

Contrary to popular belief, pictures do lie. So make sure they’re saying you’re skinnier than you really are!

More family photo tips

Top 10 things to avoid when taking family pictures
Monday Mom challenge: A family portrait
How to arrange a family photo wall

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