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inspirational holiday photo shoots

Inspirational Holiday Photo Shoots

December 24, 2015

What is it about the holiday season that makes everyone want to take pictures? Perhaps it’s because it’s one of the few times each year that the whole family is reunited. Maybe there’s something about the beautiful decor, festive spirit, or the year coming to a close that we find inspiring.

Regardless, the end of the year is likely going to bring you new clients. Either that, or you’ll feel inclined to take photos for yourself!

Here are some holiday photo shoots to give you some inspiration for your work this season.

1. “On glitter and farkles” by Erin Wallis

Wallis 3

This winter photo shoot is whimsical, festive, and heartfelt. Erin Wallis is a professional photographer and mother whose favorite subjects are her children. These images are actually from a section of her blog called “Letters to Maisie,” which contains beautiful photographs accompanied by loving letters written from Wallis to her daughter, Maisie.

Wallis 1

Whether or not the photos were taken with a holiday theme in mind, they would make wonderful Christmas or Chanukah cards. If it’s a snowy day, consider taking your subject—who should be appropriately bundled up in winter clothing, of course—outside during golden hour, along with a bucket of glitter!

Wallis 2

2. “A Few Things” by Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom, and Wendy of Blue Lily PhotographyBlairVintageCarChristmas07

These hilarious, Christmas-themed, family photos were taken in Normandy. According to Design Mom, they rented a tiny vintage car, had everyone dress up in Christmas clothing, created some huge present boxes, and then went to the nearest country road to do the shoot.


These photos are gorgeous, but they also capture the rushed, chaotic feeling of what it’s like to get a family ready to go visit relatives for the holidays.


Don’t dismiss the idea of using props like an old car or a wagon for your photo shoots this winter. If everyone is having fun during the shoot, the joy will come through in your photographs.


3. Outdoorsy Christmas Tree Family Photos by Velvet Owl Photography

Velvet Owl Photography 1

Sometimes, it can be a technical challenge to photograph a family decorating a Christmas tree indoors. We love the idea behind this photo shoot—take the family to a park where evergreen trees are grown (or perhaps a Christmas tree farm), and shoot them as they decorate the trees outside.

Velvet Owl Photography 2

The foggy sky against the deep red of the ornaments and dark green of the trees contrast beautifully. The wardrobe choices have a perfect combination of tones of Christmas, winter, and casual wear. They did a great job of making the photos look festive without looking forced.

Velvet Owl Photography 3

4. Photo Shoots with Fake Snow by Erica Hang and Kelly Klatt

Perhaps you live in a location where it doesn’t snow in the winter very often (or at all). A great way to give a photograph a winter-y feel without real snow is to use fake snow. Don’t worry: we’re not telling you to set up a full-on North Pole scene with elves and reindeer. Fake snow can be done beautifully if you put thought into it.


Erica Lynn Hang

Take the photograph above, for example. In a styled session with Ella Iouvi, Erica Lang decided to stay indoors, and create fake snow using potato flakes—and it turned out great. Don’t be scared to get creative with materials.

Fake Snow Kelly Klat 1

In this winter-themed senior picture by Kelly Klatt, one of the subjects can be seen sprinkling fake snow from a paper bag over her friends. This gives the photograph a fun, playful mood while still making it feel like winter.

5. Klatt Family Holiday Card 2015 by Kelly Klatt and McClanahan Studio

Klatt Christmas Card 1

Kelly Klatt, an amazing portrait photographer from Minnesota, creates hilariously-themed photos for her family’s holiday cards every year. This year (2015), she teamed up with McClanahan Studio and created a hysterical food-fight scene.

Klatt Christmas Card 3

Even though this Christmas card is a bit silly (but in a good way!), it’s such a high-quality portrait that it doesn’t come off as tacky. Everything in the photograph looks great—the lighting, the portrait in the background, the food, the subjects, the wallpaper, and not to mention the well-done HDR effect.

Klatt Christmas Card 2

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