This year, I wanted to take a family picture to send out as a holiday card. However, our busy schedule did not permit the booking a professional photographer to take our pictures with enough time for editing, printing, and actually getting them sent out before the holidays. And then, I casually mentioned the cost to my husband and he said that we could buy a nice camera for that amount and take our own pictures! And he’s right.
So, I ditched the professional photographer idea and decided to turn my living room into a photo studio that I could reuse year after year instead. And in case you need a little inspiration, I’m going to share how we did at a fraction of the cost.
I’m excited to partner with Olympus to offer you this DIY option for your family’s holiday card photos. The bonus is that you’ll own your photos, print as many as you want, and be able to share them with family and friends!
As someone who takes a lot of food and lifestyle photography, owning the rights to the photos I take is very important. Something I can’t do with professionally taken photos. So, to take today’s photos, I used my new Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, turned my living room into a photography studio, set up a tripod, and snapped away!
After a few days of stalking Pinterest, I decided I wanted to have a backdrop that was timeless, that we could use year after year regardless of the theme and color scheme we chose to wear. Eventually, all the idea searching gave me the perfect vision of what I wanted for this year.
So here is how we did it. I went to the fabric shop and asked for the most affordable, non-see-through, white material that would drape nicely. Then, I purchased strands of white holiday lights to hang over the white backdrop.
To create a “studio” in my living room, I moved all the furniture out of the way and hung the backdrop over a very large mirror that already hangs to the wall. Otherwise, I would have draped it over our bookcase. We secured the lights to the fabric with office clips and plugged them into a power strip. The lights over the white material provided the perfect glow I was after.
The biggest struggle was figuring out how to squeeze six people into a frame, with our teenager being over six feet tall and the little one barely three feet. Our dining room bench came to the rescue, and we squeezed ourselves into the frame. I also held the sides of the material with pushpins onto the wall and blurred the sides with free editing software.
If you are wondering how exactly did we manage to take our pictures on our own without someone else snapping them for us; I’ll tell you that the secret is “in” the camera. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II has a built in WIFI. So, I downloaded the OI Share app to my phone and synced the camera to it. This way, all I had to do is push the button on my phone (hidden behind one of my kids), and the camera would instantly snap the picture. This feature is much better than the 3-second auto timer built into most cameras, eliminating the infamous “run” back.
The built-in app also allows me to sync my photos with my phone to either edit them in one of my apps or share them with my friends and family on social media.
Using my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, I was able to get all the shots I needed and a few very candid ones that have already become favorites.
The best part of the shoot was our family laughing together as we took extra silly photos and dancing to holiday jingles. I had a great time talking pictures with my family, at home, and I get to keep some incredible pictures for many years to come.