Family PhotoGetting ready to take the annual family photo for your Christmas cards, New Year’s cards or Thanksgiving cards? We see a lot of family photos, and wonder how our customers manage to take such great ones. To make your photo session easier, we’ve compiled our top 10 family photo tips, especially for those who have lots of family members to organize or little kids to corral.

10. Choose your time carefully
Make sure the kids are fed and rested. We all know what happens when we skip nap time, and even adults get cranky when they’re hungry.

9. Bring toys or treats
Don’t be caught empty handed. You’ll need to take quick action if you have to turn that frown upside down or want to reward good behavior.

8. Set a rain date
If you’re shooting outside, or are hiring a professional photographer, be sure to set a rain date in case someone gets sick or the weather isn’t perfect.

7. Have fun
Let people make funny faces, move around, and strike poses. You never know. Those often turn out to be the best photos, with lots of personality.

6. Plan for interaction
Play a game, sing a song, anything to get the group focusing and interacting with one another. Tickling might work for kids, but don’t overdo it.

5. Bring props
Sometimes a great theme comes out of a prop idea. Everybody wears the same hat or a silly mustache. Perhaps the photo is shot through a picture frame or window, or reflected in a mirror. If this appeals, browse photo websites for ideas.

4. Not smiling is okay
No smile is better than a plastic one. If your teen decides to take a stand, nothing good can come from arguing about it. You will treasure the photo when he or she gets older.

3. Capture the moment
Everyone doesn’t have to be looking at the camera or perfectly posed. Great photos capture a moment in time. Stilted ones are not as real or fun to look at.

2. Family apparel
Should you or shouldn’t you coordinate your holiday outfits? There are two schools of thought on this, and it all depends on your family. The main thing is to make sure everyone is dressed in a similarly casual or formal way, so no one stands out in a bad way.

1. Relax
Kids are great at reading Mom’s mood. If you are relaxed, they will be too. This is especially important if you are paying a photographer. Your time is limited, so make the most of it.

Once you have a photo you love, you’ll be ready to start creating your holiday photo cards. Still looking? Read more family photo tips on our blog.