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25 Fun Christmas Card Photo Ideas (And How to Capture Them!)

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Christmas is a great time to get creative. With the yearly Christmas cards rolling out, it’s a good time to think about Christmas card photo ideas!

Today, we’re going to give you a range of Christmas card photo ideas that will help you capture the perfect Christmas family photo. So get that Christmas tree ready, get your camera on a tripod, and get in the festive spirit for a Christmas photoshoot!

Family photo with lights and Santa hats for Christmas card photo ideas

Christmas Card Photo Ideas

Let’s jump in for a look at creative Christmas card photo ideas for you to try this year. If you are printing photos off for Christmas cards, ensure you are shooting and printing photos at the correct resolution.

1. Christmas Baking

The only thing better than Christmas treats is baking them with your family. Why not take advantage of this special moment by capturing the whole family in the kitchen? There’s always a fun mess to capture, so make sure you have the camera ready! Use a fast shutter speed for action shots.

Mother and child baking cookies as a Christmas card photo idea

2. Create a Candy-Cane Heart

If you take two candy canes and hold them together, it can look similar to a heart shape. It is a simple way to get a warm message across to other families and spread Christmas’s joy. Use a large aperture for a lovely Christmas bokeh.

Heart-shaped candy canes for Christmas card photo ideas

3. Decorate Family Members in Lights

Before decorating the Christmas tree in lights, how about decorating your family members? Photography props go a long way to add fun details, so why not take advantage of the decorations before they’re up?

You can have family members pose for this shot in different ways, wrapping Christmas lights around them together or apart. You could even wrap lights around your pet!

Couple wrapped in lights for Christmas photo ideas

4. Candid Decorating Pictures

Deck the halls with boughs of holly—literally! It makes for great candid photo opportunities. While setting up the Christmas tree or putting up lights outside, get the camera out and start shooting.

Occasionally, you can ask your family to pose and show off the hard work you have put into your decorations. Ensure your focal point is on your main subject.

Family members untangling tree decorations for Christmas card photo ideas

5. Create a Composite in Photoshop

If you don’t have time to set up an ideal Christmas backdrop, but you have Photoshop skills, then you’re in luck. Take images of your family members and drop them into any Christmas scene you like.

Maybe they could be inside a snow globe held by Santa? Or perhaps they’re stuck in an ice cube in the North Pole? Only your imagination restricts you, so get thinking. Look at our quick guide on photo composites for help.

A Christmas composite with Santa Claus for Christmas card photo ideas

6. Capture Kids at Christmas

A baby’s first Christmas is something to be remembered and makes for a great Christmas card photo. Apart from this, you can have great fun taking pictures of your kids no matter their age.

Use a festive hat or holiday clothing to have them look like Santa or one of his little helpers by the Christmas tree. And use selective colour in Photoshop to make Christmas colours stand out even more!

Baby in Santa outfit and with reindeer statues for Christmas card photo ideas

7. Holiday Season Pets

This is one Christmas card photo idea that is great for the camera-shy family members… dressing up family pets! It’s easy to find Christmas pet outfits nowadays.

If you don’t want to go shopping, you can easily find Christmas decorations around the house that work. Maybe you can tie a bow around their collar or have them pose with a small wreath. Just make sure family pets are comfortable and safe throughout a pet photoshoot!

Cute dog with Santa hat and bow for Christmas card photo ideas

8. Set Up a Christmas-Themed Photoshoot

Why not set up a whole group photoshoot? Clear out a room, set up some lights and decorations, and get snapping.

You could even set a theme for the shoot. Have each family member dress up as a different tree decoration, with the youngest (or eldest) being the star. Make sure you have the correct depth of field, so everyone is in sharp focus.

Group photo of friends holding up props and signs for Christmas card photo ideas

9. Around the Tree

If you’re one of those people who put all their effort into the Christmas tree, why not show it off? Nothing says Christmas more than a well-decorated Christmas tree. This Christmas card photo will take a small amount of time to set up since you will put the tree up anyway.

If the twinkle lights look best with the house lights off, position your family behind the tree or to the side. This way, they will get the light from the tree to light their faces. Use a tripod for these low-light situations.

for Christmas card photo ideas

10. Shoot a Christmas Ornament Flat Lay

An excellent option for those who want to get creative is to make a flat lay photograph featuring your favourite ornaments. This can be a fun and creative way to construct simple narratives through your photography.

Use small Christmas decorations to create a simple ornament outline. A black background can make the seasonal colours pop!

Flat lay of ornament for Christmas photo ideas
Dina Belenko

11. Scout Locations for Outdoor Christmas Photoshoots

If you live in a place that is a winter wonderland, why not take advantage of it and do an outdoor photoshoot. This is one of the Christmas card photo ideas that involve you hunting down a specific location for your shoot.

If you don’t live in a place that snows, consider locations that are associated with winter or Christmas. A Christmas tree farm from where you pick your tree, holiday mall settings, or a skating rink are a few location examples.

Family members skating on an outdoor rink for Christmas card photo ideas

12. Embrace Tropical Christmas Settings

If you live in a warm climate, take advantage of this ‘alternate’ Christmas setting. Set up a photoshoot on the beach or by the pool.

All those friends and family that you have in colder climates will be green with envy when they see you dressed as Santa sunbathing. Use different photo angles for compelling compositions.

A couple wearing Santa hats and sitting in beach chairs for Christmas card photo ideas

13. Snap Some Family Time

Christmas is all about family togetherness. Take these festive opportunities to snap a candid family holiday photo. Even if it’s Christmas Day, you can save shots for next year’s card or even the New Year.

This is one of the more sentimental Christmas card photo ideas because you can catch memorable moments. Get a photo of family carolling, the children’s expressions when they open presents, or the family making gingerbread houses.

A family putting together a gingerbread house for Christmas card photo ideas

14. Couples Christmas Photoshoot

If this is the first Christmas for couples, celebrate the occasion with a photoshoot to keep in the memory box. A Christmas card photo with your better half is also a great way to keep distant family members up to date.

There are many ways to do a couples photoshoot. They could dress in matching outfits, be outside in the snow, or be close together under the mistletoe!

A couple in holiday sweaters taking a bite of gingerbread cookies for Christmas card photo ideas

15. Building a Snowman

How about bringing a new family member into the frame? Building a snowman is a fun outdoor activity the entire family can get involved in. And it’s a fantastic photo opportunity.

Take pictures of family members rolling up the snow or putting on the finishing touches. Be conscious of any distracting elements in the background and ensure the snowman faces front.

Building a snowman with family for Christmas card photo ideas

16. Kids as the Christmas Present

One classic Christmas card photo idea is to wrap up the kids as a present. The easiest way to do this is to find a large box and wrap it in wrapping paper. You can then add a range of holiday-themed props to scatter around the scene.

When taking this photo, it is essential to get low on the ground to shoot at the head height of your subject. This will ensure the illusion isn’t ruined by seeing the inside of the box.

A kid wearing a Santa hat and holiday sweater as a present for Christmas card photo ideas

17. Take a Comedic Approach

Christmas card photos are a treat whenever they have a comical narrative in them. There are plenty of Christmas card photo ideas that fit this bill. The possibilities are endless, and you will be rewarded the more creative you get!

You could have a family member dress up as Santa and have them hiding in plain sight. Or you could dress the kids up as elves and have them perform a mutiny against you dressed up as Santa in the ‘workshop’. Or use editing software to draw some Christmas cheer!

Fingers with faces and Santa hats for Christmas card photo ideas

18. Christmas Warmth

A typical Christmas tradition is to get the family around the TV to watch some holiday Christmas movies. Why not capture this moment and share it with your friends?

There are plenty of ways to capture warmth in this shot. Have the entire family cuddle under a Christmas blanket, wear Christmas sweaters, or sit around a fireplace sipping hot chocolate.

Think of what kind of lighting you want to use. Light from a fire or candles can produce warm light to get across this cosy atmosphere, but you will have to compensate for low light.

Family under a blanket and in wool sweaters for Christmas card photo ideas

19. Photograph or Create Snowy Scenes

If you’re lucky enough to get a white Christmas, then take some pictures of your family playing in the snow. If not, get creative. Maybe you get the kids to cut out paper snowflakes. Or, if you don’t mind making a mess, get some flour or powdered sugar to use in flat lays or around car or house windows to create illusions of snow!

Family taking a walk in snowy woods for Christmas card photo ideas

20. Simple Family Photos

Maybe you prefer something a bit more stripped back. Or perhaps you can’t get all the family members on board with some of your great ideas. Either way, the classic family photo goes down like a treat as an image for a Christmas card.

Make sure you spend time taking test shots to get the lighting right. And ensure your background doesn’t have any distractions to take away from you and your perfect family Christmas photo!

Family portrait by decorated tree for Christmas card photo ideas

21. Create a Snowy Action Shot

When you’re out in the snow, think about different ways to create a magical feel with your Christmas photos. One example is having someone blow handfuls of snow toward the camera for an action photo.

Try to have the blown snow fill the frame. Add depth to your image by using a long lens and a wide aperture for a shallow depth of field, and so the snowflakes go slightly out of focus.

Person blowing snow in their hands for Christmas card photo ideas

22. Focus on Christmas Details

Another idea for camera-shy family members is to take a family picture without people’s faces visible or in focus. This can be effective if your composition and focus are still on Christmas themes.

Maybe your photos focus more on Christmas outfits. You can differentiate family members by the socks or sweaters they wear. You can also consider focussing on food or presents.

Christmas socks and presents a the end of a bed for Christmas card photo ideas

23. Use Matching Christmas Clothes

I’m sure we have all seen the matching Christmas jumper images, so why not make your own! This is an easy photoshoot to set up, as it only requires getting the family to wear the same clothes.

You can do this in many ways. It can be as simple as each member wearing a Santa hat or everyone in matching pyjamas. You could even reconstruct Santa’s workshop with a family of working elves!

Family wearing matching Christmas clothes for Christmas card photo ideas

24. Send Christmas Card Kisses

Suppose you want to spread love to your family and friends, then why not send a Christmas kiss.  Zoom in or move in closer on the family members for a nice tight shot.

A great way to frame this image is to position family members around a central person receiving a kiss on the cheek. Make sure you focus on the facial expression of the person getting kissed. They are the main subject of this Christmas photo.

Child getting kissed by parents in Santa hats for Christmas card photo ideas

25. Dress Up for Christmas Card Photos

A fun family photoshoot is to dress everyone up in their Sunday best. Set the theme as a super exclusive party for Christmas Eve and get the family looking elegant and sharp. Black-and-white photos work great here.

It is always lovely to have smart-looking family photos, but this type of shoot can also double as a comedic approach during Christmas. Quickly put on Santa hats to add a little touch of colour and holiday cheer!

Family dress up for portrait for Christmas card photo ideas


Now that you have so many Christmas card photo ideas to choose from, consider adding your own personal twist to them! Many family photos don’t take too much time and money to set up, so a spontaneous photoshoot is possible. But remember, the more time you spend setting up the shoot, the more chance it has to be successful. So get out there and take your personalised Christmas card image to start spreading Christmas cheer!

Try out our Dreamy Childhood Portraits e-book to take print-worthy shots you’ll cherish forever!

Images in this article partly provided by DepositPhotos.

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