Christmas may be more than a month away, but Christmas photo sessions are getting booked fast! Many families use their Christmas photos to send out holiday greeting cards or to simply mark the occasion. It’s a long-standing tradition that family portraits are captured this time of year, so if you’re one of those families who already have their photoshoot booked, here are some helpful dos and don’ts for pulling off a Hallmark-worthy photo shoot.

DON’T Force Your Kids to Sit on Santa’s Lap

Forcing your young children to sit anywhere, let alone a stranger’s lap, is usually a recipe for disaster. Children don’t feel comfortable being held by someone they don’t know, and Father Christmas is no different. We’ve all seen those family photos of children screaming their poor little hearts out while sitting on a helpless Santa Claus. Instead, let them choose where they want to sit or stand.

If you book your photo session with Cindy June Photography, your kids will have plenty of other Christmassy props to choose from.

DO Let Your Children Pose Naturally

Making your family smile looks a little bit…well, forced. If your kids don’t feel like showing their teeth, they shouldn’t feel that their natural smile isn’t up to someone’s standards. You may decide where you would like your kids to be positioned, but allowing them to pose in their own way lets them express themselves and show their true personality.

DON’T Wear Matching Outfits

There is no rule that states that every member of the family has to wear a green shirt and a red tie. Trust me, your photo won’t look any less amazing if your three children aren’t all wearing candy cane sweaters. If you’re matching too much, your outfits will most likely be too distracting in the photo.

DO Wear Something Nice but Comfortable

It’s Christmas, and depending on your family tradition, this might mean a time of dressing up. Be that as it may, you certainly don’t have to go all out in a full three-piece suit or custom-made dress. While we agree that there’s nothing more precious than children wearing pretty dresses and strapping suits, please don’t feel compelled to dress up. Christmas should be festive, but also fun. You want to feel comfortable when the camera is on you, so if those 5-inch heels give you blisters just by looking at them, your pain is going to show on your face.

DON’T Feel Obliged to Wear Christmas

I think we’ve learned from the countless bad family photoshoots floating around the Internet that dressing up in custom-made Christmas tree shirts or elf ears may be taking the whole holiday photo shoot a little too literally. There’s a difference between kitsch and corny, and if you force your spouse and children to step into something that not even your grandmother would make for you, you’ve gone too far. A simple Christmas colour palette will do, or—guess what—wear whatever you want!

The bottom line of any photo shoot is to just be yourself. Photos are meant to reflect the real you. Remember, there are no rules when it comes to Christmas photography, but the best piece of advice I can give is to be yourself and act naturally. Book your holiday photo shoot with Cindy June Photography this Christmas. Dates are filling up fast, so book your shoot soon!