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 camera, 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 IV 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 camera, 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.
We haven’t done family photos yet but it is something I would like to start doing. In the past I have just used a picture of our son to use on the cards – if I can get him to sit still long enough to get a get one that’s not blurry – it was a lot easier when he was a baby!
Great idea! I love the backdrop! We have taken a self family portrait for every Christmas card since my first son was born! It’s a tradition now, but we don’t have the best camera so winning this one would be AWESOME!!!
I love having family photos! We do not always have a family photo card for Christmas, but if we had a camera like that we sure would! Having an app where you can snap your own photos using you phone would be great! So much easier than the mad dash method! Love your photos!
I would love to have a camera to start this tradition of taking our own! Your photos are precious.
We are beginning a new career and this would be such a help. This year we are planning a family photo for our cards and are not able to hire a photographer either. Thanks for the opportunity! Have a blessed day.
Hi, my mom was telling me about your contest. This year I’ve been taking photography at school. I would love to take our families Christmas pictures this year and use some of the skills I’ve learned. Recently we have been going over filters and I want to practice that. I don’t own my own camera so have been using the schools when I can. Over the summer my dad had surgery for thyriod cancer and has a large 6+ inch scar across and up the side of his neck. I’ve been practicing using the filters to help with things like that. Your camera would get lots of use if I won for this Christmas photos and probably many more! Thanks
I love receiving family photo cards, but I have noticed a disturbing trend in recent years. My cards are being delivered with everything pre-printed and nothing of a personal nature about them. I am one who mourns society’s gradual loss of handwritten letters or even notes. Remember when certain cards made your heart race because you recogonized the handwriting? This year I am going to make the time to handwrite a short note with each special card, hoping that the message ‘I made time for you because you are special’ will come through loud and clear!
This is our first Christmas in our new house Looking forward to a great picture to do thanks for the idea!
My family loves using pictures from during the year, such as from small family trips or other memorable moments. A few years, we’ve been unable to find a good one that everyone likes, so we have taken holiday photos. How nice it would be to have the camera to use throughout the whole year, not just at the holidays! Thanks for this wonderful offer!
We usually use a picture that we’ve taken during the year, but I love the idea of a simple in-home studio for a photo like the one you did. What a great camera!
Your family photo looks great. We like to use a photo from the year (often outdoors) when we have a nice one or take a photo in a decorative spot
We have been spoiled to have my sister as a professional photographer! But now she’s switched to Real Estate photography, so getting portraits done is not very easy! I love to get my kids dressed up for pics with Mr and Mrs Clause every year at my local furniture store!
favorite holiday card moments: the more natural/spontaneous the better; remember a very staged setting that ended with everyone grumpy
capturing best photos: take LOTS of photos for a large data base of possibilities
Havent taken family photos especially for your holiday cards yet but might try with a really good camera.
My favorite all time family Christmas photo was taken when the boys were little. They were both in red footie pajamas with santa hats in front of the Christmas tree. So cute!
Love your pictures! In our last Christmas photo we wrapped the kids in christmas lights! It was the cutest picture! I usually only part the kids in the picture since I am the one having to take the shot! Blessings to your family this season!
My camera is so old and takes the fuzziest photos, no matter what setting I put it on. It doesn’t zoom well either. I’d love to have a new camera! Taking a photo with a professional photographer is usually a hassle, especially around the holidays when we are extra busy. I love the way you did it, Laura!
Favorite holiday photos are usually the candid ones but my husband and I now have our two year old grandson living with us so we get to start new traditions with him. I’m looking forward to taking some great annual holiday photos to share and a wi-fi camera would be a great way to share those with family and friends (and social media) easily. Love your family photos!
What a fantastic idea! We’ve never done it because of the cost involved, but it would be amazing to have one of those cameras and do it ourselves. Thank you for the opportunity.
We don’t normally think to make a Christmas card. I tried one time a very long time ago and the colors were totally off, but yours looks great. Love your site, thank you for the information it has.
We have not done holiday photos, but I do need some family photos done. I like your idea of doing it at home. I hate to take a 1 & 3 year old to a studio that’s a 45 minute drive (I’m in suburbia, but no studios around) and the hope they behave and then also hope that the photographer is decent. And then have to go through the pressure sales of packages…