More Fun Christmas Photo Ideas
Share Some Holiday Cheer
Last year I searched the Internet and highlighted some of my favorite funny Christmas photo ideas on the web.This year, I decided to create some of my own.
Below are the results. I've shared some of the images I created, as well as tips on how you can do something similar with your own family photo.
In most of the images below, my two kids served the models. This will give you an idea of what your pictures would look like with only two people in them, but you can easily modify most of these concepts to include more people. In fact, the human Christmas tree requires more people!
So feel free to copy these ideas for your annual family photo or use them as inspiration to create your own great Christmas photos. Either way, I hope you have fun!
(Photo by Lisa Howard)
The Human Christmas Tree - Great fun for big groups
Whenever we get together with my brother's and sister's families, we always like to take photos of all the cousins. Last Christmas, we decided to have them stack up like a human Christmas tree. Since there's a good age range among the kids, it was easy to have the biggest ones form the base of our tree and the mid-sized ones form a center layer. My littlest one was only six years old at the time and couldn't balance on the others, so she stood behind them on a chair and leaned forward. Voila! Human Christmas tree.
This is a really fun Christmas photo idea for groups of six people. With that number, you don't need to stack the "tree" too high or too wide, making it possible for the people on the top and the bottom to maintain their balance. If you don't have the right arrangement of people who can get down on all fours and support others on their backs, go to a local sports field and line up in the bleachers in an ascending triangle shape.
Since we didn't mandate an all-green dress code for this holiday get-together, I used Photoshop Elements to change everyone's outfit to green after the fact. But a much simpler way to do this would be to ask everyone to come dressed as a tree (i.e., wearing green). For added effect, you might want to have the person at the top of the "tree" hold a tree topper (or cheat like I did and add one in your photo editing program).
Go Down Under - Get a little wet with this Christmas photo idea
With a swimming pool in our backyard, some waterproof cameras in my closet, and a couple of Santa hats just waiting to be worn, this Christmas photo was inevitable. I think it's a particularly fun idea for anyone who lives in a state that is sunny and warm all-year round (like Florida or Hawaii), but it's also great for families who are avid swimmers or snorkelers.
If you have your own pool, you won't need to worry about looking silly when you do this in the middle of summer. If you don't, the toughest part of creating a photo like this might be jumping into the public pool in Christmas attire. But don't let that stop you!
Don't let the underwater part stop you either. There's no need to buy an expensive underwater camera to create a photo like this. You can get a cheap waterproof bag for your compact camera, slip your smartphone into a waterproof housing, use a disposable camera or rent a waterproof camera to capture your family underwater. I've listed some under-$20 options at the end of this page. If you want to splurge and get a waterproof, shockproof rugged camera as an early Christmas present, I've also included an affordable model.
Once you've chosen your waterproof camera or housing, it's time to jump in the pool and start shooting. The most important thing to be aware of when shooting in a pool or any body of water is the possibility of backscatter. Backscatter refers to small white spots that can show up in your photo as a result of light reflecting off particles in the water. To avoid this problem, turn around in the water until you can't visibly see any participles in the water and make sure your light source is at an angle to the camera. Avoid using on-camera flash. You might also want to shoot at several angles to make sure you get the best results. If you do get some backscatter in your image, you can use a photo editing program to remove the spots.
Gear for Creating an Underwater Christmas Photo - Pick the one that's right for you
With the exception of the Nikon camera at the end of this list, all of the waterproof cases, bags and cameras shown here are available for less than $20 each.
If you prefer to use your smartphone, a waterproof case will do the trick at a reasonable price.
And So On and So On and So On... - Have some fun with this "picture in a picture"
The idea of creating a picture in a picture isn't new. Before digital technology, however, it was much harder to do. These days, it's fairly simple if you have a photo editing program.
To make a fun Christmas photo like this, you'll first need to get decked out in your holiday attire and then get a large piece of white paper or cardboard to hold in front of you. You can either have your family members stand in the same place for the photos or, if you want a bit more Christmas flair, you can erase the real background from your photo and add in a holiday backdrop. (See video below for a quick overview of how to do this using Photoshop Elements.)
You'll want to start with the adult(s) and biggest kid(s) holding the largest sheet or paper or cardboard. Then work your way down to the smallest, cutting the paper or cardboard to a smaller size for each person. The youngest family member can stand or sit without holding any paper.
Once you have taken all of the photos, go into your photo editing program and open the photo of the person with the largest sheet of paper. Then open the image of the next person, drag it into the first photo and resize it to fit on the white paper the person is holding. Repeat the process until you have stacked all your images onto the first photo. Check out the video below for a quick tutorial on how to do this.
How to Add a Christmas Background to Your Photos - And how to stack them to create a "photo in photo" effect
This brief tutorial shows you how to use Photoshop Elements to remove the background from any photo and replace it with a holiday theme.
Frame It - And a frame and a Christmas-y background
Another easy way to have some fun with your family holiday photo is to use some type of Christmas-y object (such as a wreath) to create a frame around your subjects. In the examples above, I had my kids hold a wreath and a wooden frame that had been spray-painted with a glittery red paint.
Then I used Photoshop Elements to remove the boring backgrounds and replace them with something more festive. (The video above can give you a very quick overview of how to do this.)
The backgrounds you see above are from a set of professional photo backgrounds that I purchased on Amazon (see the link below if you're interested in the DVD set), but you can find free holiday backgrounds on the web by doing a a search for "Christmas background." Be sure to check the size and resolution of the image to ensure it will look good when printed on your holiday cards, and don't forget to check the copyright before using any image you find online.
Let It Snow! - Even if it's fake...
A lot of people like to start planning for their Christmas photo long before snow actually falls, while others of us live in places where snowfall doesn't occur even in the middle of winter. So does that mean you can't get a fun Christmas photo with snow and ice? Of course not!
Modern technology can help you cheat and create a snowy or icy image any time of year.
To create the image above, I bought some instant snow online. You simply add water to a dry powder and it creates "snow" immediately. This type of fake snow is great for photos because it won't melt in your hands and it's dry enough to blow, making it great for shots like this. To create this image, I had the kids put snow in their hands, I counted to three, and then they started blowing as I snapped away. It took several tries to get a picture where it was possible to see their faces through the snow, but they were having fun, so it didn't matter.
Another fun way to do a photo like this would be to have family members facing each other or throwing snow on each other.
You can also buy instant "ice crystals" online. (Is there anything you CAN'T buy online these days???) The photo below was created with spray-on crystals. Just shake the can, spray the liquid, wait for it to dry, and you'll see the crystals forming before your eyes. It's easy and fun! (And a great way to confuse your friends and family if you live in a year-round warm climate like Florida, California or Hawaii!)
Put Your Family in an Ornament - It's easy if you've got Photoshop Elements
This fun photo is actually very easy to create if you have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. The basic ornament template shown above can be purchased and downloaded instantly from Colorvale Actions. (Go to Shop>Templates>Holiday Templates).
To use this template, you'll first need to unzip the file and then open it in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. After opening the file, look in the lower right corner for the layers box that will contain a layer that says CLICK HERE + FILE + PLACE. Click on that layer to highlight it, then go to File>Place and select your photo. Then move and/or resize the image as needed to make it appear the way you want inside the ornament. Save and you're done!
In the example above, I've added another layer with the red and white spots (bokeh). This is not included with the basic template shown here, although Colorvale Actions does offer bokeh backgrounds you can use.
To achieve this effect, however, I used an image from a collection of photo backgrounds I own (see the link below), dragged it into the Colorvale template, made sure it was behind the ornament so it didn't cover the faces, and changed the opacity to 30%. You could also add snow or other holiday effects this way. This is a great Christmas photo idea that you could really have some fun with!
My "Secret Weapons" - All the tools you'll need to create photos like the ones on this page
If you'd like to try any of the ideas on this page, here are some tools to help you out.
If you want to improve your family holiday photo, adding a custom background is a great way to do it. This is the set of photo backgrounds I use. In addition to having backgrounds for the major holidays, the 4 DVDs also have a huge selection of textures, edges and frames to make any image look great.
This amazing fake snow is easy to make - just add water and it expands to 100 times its size! This small jar will make about two gallons of snow.