Many families will fly across this country to see their friends and family and be thankful for the so many blessings we have, which is why today I write for the families who are not going to hire a professional photographer for their holiday pictures.
If you are on your own to create those memories, here are some tips for you:
Have fun and enjoy your family. If you are not paying for professional knowledge of lighting, use of equipment, education for keeping up with new techniques, posing and post processing skills, take the weight off your back and spend quality time with your family. Remember that for you it does not need to be perfect. Just do your best so you do not have a tree growing out of somebody's head.
The sun is not your friend. Unlike many people think, the worst place to gather is under the sun! When you put your family with the sun behind you everybody squints and there is what we call "panda eyes", the dark, black shadows under the eyes. So not only everybody squints, you also can't see the color of their eyes, and you have dark shadows across the face.
Don't line up everybody side by side. They look stiff, tired and extremely posed, taking the magic of closeness and love away. It will look like the football pose in a field, which is what you don't want in a family portrait!
Photograph the food and the table set for the beautiful celebrations BEFORE everybody eats! Usually people forget about it and when somebody remembers to take a picture, there is just leftovers and a messy table. Take some 5 minutes before everybody seats and capture both the details and the entire table with the food and arrangements. Also, take some images of the person adjusting the last details before the table is finally ready.
Do some close-ups. Just because you have head to toe it does not mean you need to show them. People are attracted to faces, so capture some happy faces and just the faces!! A nice hug, a genuine laugh. Sometimes the imperfect pictures are the most memorable.
Ask somebody to photograph you in the family group! Most of the times, photographers look like they don't exist in the family pictures as they are the ones behind the camera all the time!
Print those images and send a set for the family members. People are so used to seeing everything online that when they get a package in the mail with memories they can touch it feels like a magic surprise. Put those images in the wall, the refrigerator, the cork board, at least.
Be thankful. Love your family. Look in their eyes. Say you love them. Give them a big hug.