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ADVICE & INSPIRATION

10 Tips for Taking a Great Holiday Portrait with Jillian Harris

We teamed up with interior designer, TV personality and new mom Jillian Harris to see how her family is celebrating Christmas. First on their list? The perfect family portrait. Here are Jillian’s tips for snapping a pic you will love for a lifetime.

Find a Beautiful Backdrop

Many times, less is more. While standing in front of your tree may seem like a good idea, choosing a simple wall with a wreath or garland  will still give you a holiday feel but with less visual clutter. Make sure you frame your shot nicely. Depending on how you plan on using your portrait, allow for blank space for a message.

Get in Formation

Decide how you want to be positioned in the shot. Try to avoid a front-on shot – if possible, shoot from a slight angle to add depth and dimension. (Plus, it makes everyone look a little slimmer!)

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Dress for Success

Your style of clothing will determine the tone of the portrait. No need for matching holiday sweaters! Coordinating pajamas from Pottery Barn and sleepwear from Pottery Barn Kids  are an easy but fun way to show personality.

Light it Right

When possible, shoot your portrait in natural indirect light. Avoid harsh shadows by shooting in the morning or late evening, when the light is the most diffused and soft. With proper lighting, you should be able to avoid using a flash completely.

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Keep to a Schedule

If you are shooting young children, plan the shoot around their schedule – there’s no reason to shoot a grumpy or hungry toddler. Additionally, incorporate being in front of the camera into their routine prior to the day of the shoot. There’s nothing worse than finding out the day of that your little one is camera-shy!

Have Fun

Saying “cheese” may not work to get your child to smile on cue. So bring a favorite toy, sing a favorite song or play a game during the shoot. Remember, the key is to capture a moment of joy, and what is more fun to a child then playing?

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Limit Distractions

That means no cell phones and computers in eye sight during the shoot, for both parents and children. If you want to look like a family, the key is interacting with each other.

Wrangle Some Help

This may be the time to call in a favor from a friend or in-law. Have them help wrangle the dog, make funny faces at your youngest or simply be there for moral support should anyone (including yourself) has a meltdown.

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Shoot Until You Drop

In the age of digital cameras, you can shoot until you get a shot you love. Don’t be afraid to fill a memory card! An outtake may turn out to be a shot you didn’t know you would love.

Embrace the Imperfect

At the end of the day, don’t sweat the small stuff. Who cares that a shirt is wrinkled or a wreath askew? What matters is that you have a memory that will last a lifetime to share with friends and family.

Want to throw a holiday brunch like the one shown?  Visit Pottery Barn for all the products shown as well as tips from Jillian on how to have a stress-free family holiday plus a special family recipe perfect for brunch!

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