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Tips & Tricks

Creative and Simple Holiday Portrait Ideas

By Hanssie on November 23rd 2014

It’s that time of year again. I’m not sure where this entire year disappeared to, but it’s holiday portrait time. Your procrastinating clients are probably calling you up right now trying to book their holiday portraits for their last minute Christmas cards; you might be thinking about doing that one last portrait push for some extra holiday cash and maybe you need some new ideas.


Image from screencap

The following video is from Chelsea Northrup and she gives a few tips and ideas on photographing portraits for the holidays. In the 3.5 minute clip, she shows you how to make a simple and pretty backdrop using some sheer curtains and holiday lights against a solid white background.

Chelsea also talks about the lighting she uses – strobes with an umbrella, beauty dish with a sock and a softbox. If you don’t have those “fancy” lights though, you can use an off camera flash and bounce it. The key, according to Chelsea, is to use very little flash to give it a nice soft look. The last part of the brief tutorial is about the floors and what to use to cover it to complete your portraits.


Holiday portraits can be so much fun and very easy to make “festive” with just a few props (lights, decorations, toys). This shot was created in my client’s closet. We hung some Christmas ornaments off the wire shelves, added a pillow in a basket and voila!

ChaseHR-2504 copy

Watch Holiday Portrait Tutorial


What are some of your favorite ideas for holiday portraits? Leave a comment below.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Clare Havill

    Great video, will try this out with my family this Christmas.

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  2. John Cavan

    Interesting idea with the lights, I’ll have to remember that one. I do an annual Christmas shoot with my nieces and nephews, so I’m always in the market for new concepts and I hadn’t consider this one despite the fact that I’ve used Christmas lights for nice bokeh in the past.

    Hmm, now that I think about it, black sheers with reddish lights could make for some interesting Halloween shots too.

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  3. Fernando Lachica

    Awesome tips in taking photos of family members. Memories matters most!

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  4. Brandon Dewey

    Thanks for the tips

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