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DIY Christmas Lights Family Photo

Every year, I try to think of a fun way to capture the year’s memories in a single photo for our Christmas card. This year, we are selling our house. It’s a special place. It’s where we brought both of our babies home. So, we decided to use our home, dimly-lit, with the contrast of bright Christmas lights to create a casual backdrop for our annual Christmas photo.

You can see here how we had to set up the shot. We used a tripod, and I had my Canon Rebel T2i on automatic no flash mode. (This way, the flash wouldn’t illuminate the room and make it harder to see the warm, soft glow of the Christmas lights.) I liked the light from the windows behind us as a counterpoint to the lights the kids are holding. Unique Christmas Card Photo Unique Christmas Card Photo Idea

It was a little tricky keeping the boys from accidentally sitting on the lights, but we managed it by keeping both of them on our laps. It actually ended up being the perfect set-up, since both boys were occupied with looking at the lights. This makes the shot feel natural and not forced, since we’re not asking them to do anything they don’t want to.

On my camera, I can choose how many pictures I want the self-timer to take. In an all-adult picture, three is more than enough. But in photos with kids, I often program the camera to take at least 10 photos. This way, the kids hear the camera clicking and have time to look up to see where the sound is coming from before it stops.

And here’s our Christmas card picture in 3, 2, 1… Unique Christmas Card Photo Idea

I usually don’t pick the everyone-looking-at-the-camera shots for our card, but I did this year because I liked how the lights illuminated our faces with that warm Christmas-y glow.

This was my second choice. Unique Christmas Card Photo Idea

Of course, the best are the outtakes. I used this image on the back of our card and wrote “Merry Christmas (even if you’re on the naughty list)”.

Let Kids Play With Lights Christmas Photo Idea

And, this outtake captures the quiet, unforced (beautiful) moments between Dad and two boys. Making the photo black and white seems to make us feel like we’re spying on a private moment. Unique Christmas Card Photo Idea

I love how playing with light and tinkering with editing can produce a photo that feels introspective and peaceful… a true reminder of what the Season is all about!