We love a festive photoshoot – whether you send the photos out to your loved ones or not, it’s the perfect excuse to get the kids together and snap some great photos to keep as precious memories.

The only thing is, hiring a professional photographer can be an expensive exercise, and we’ve had our fair share of disappointing photos returned. If you don’t have the budget to support a local photographer this Christmas, try these tips instead.

Find some props
There’s nothing worse than the mid-photoshoot “I don’t know what to do with my hands?!” panic. Avoid the awkwardness and add an extra special touch to your Christmas photos with some props – the more festive, the better! You don’t necessarily need to go out and buy anything, either. You could use some fairy lights or tinsel you have lying around, find palm fronds or branches lying around or don a cheeky face mask to commemorate what a year 2020 has been. It’s also a good idea to choose something that’s special to your family – a nod to a favourite sport or sports team, weekend activity (think surfing or fishing) or a family tradition is the perfect way to make your photoshoot extra ‘you’.

Coordinate your outfits
It’s not a family photoshoot without coordinated outfits. From white t-shirts and denim jeans to matching prints, there is a certain uniform that springs to mind when we think of family photos. But you don’t all need to be dressed in the same colour to look cohesive – sticking to a similar colour palette, with two main feature colours and a few other base colours, is a great way to make your photos look cohesive, but not creepy. On the other hand, Christmas is a time to indulge in your tacky side, and there’s no better way to do this than with some tacky Christmas jumpers (or shirts, or rashies, for us here in Australia!). Endless photoshoot inspiration can be found when you visit your local op shop!

Set the scene
Every photoshoot needs a great backdrop, and we’re certainly spoilt for choice in our neck of the woods. The beach and the hinterlands are two obvious choices, with the sand dunes and the rainforests offering countless Kodak moments. But there are photo opportunities to be found in the city and suburbia – we’ve rounded up the most Insta-worthy street art right here, and asked a local photographer to share his top spots right here. For your at home shoot, why not create a fun backdrop like this super easy tassel party wall or simply string up a plain white sheet? Get creative!

Get snapping
Finally, you’re ready to get snapping! While a proper camera is preferred, don’t underestimate the power of a handy iPhone for taking quality shots. Apple has included a number of additional controls to help you get the perfect photo, including shutter speed, ISO, white balance and exposure, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to finding the right setting. Activate your phone’s grid option to help you stick to the ‘rule of thirds’ (the idea that a photo is more visually effective if the important elements align with one of the grid lines or their intersections), opt for natural light and adjust the exposure before taking the photo rather than using flash, use burst mode (especially when you’re shooting with kids and pets) and make sure HDR Auto is turned on to get the best result. And if you’re getting everyone in the photo, don’t forget to turn on self-timer.

For even more photography tips, head here. Happy snapping!



haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.