11.25.2013

Embracing The Crazy (I.E. Our Minted Holiday Cards) + A Giveaway!

Our 2013 holiday card from Minted

The Taylor crew doesn't really take family photos. It's not that we're against them per se; it's that we, for lack of a more eloquent word, suck at them.

In addition to agonizing over a sartorial strategy, there's consternation (Bryan, due to the fact that I never tell him about the pics until the very last minute), crying jags (Audrey...ok, and me too), Swearing (me, sadly), and bickering (everyone). Suffice to say, it is a (very) bad scene.

So for the second consecutive year, we're going with the photo booth approach for our Minted holiday cards. We like the photo booth. We jam our little family into one at every possible opportunity. It's an obsession. Once in the tiny space we laugh; we smooch; we have fun; we're happy. So while our approach might be a little redundant, it works, and at this stage in life, we're big fans of doing what works.

Ok, now it's your turn. Tell me your secret to a good family photo in a comment on this post by midnight on Thanksgiving (this Thursday), and I'll pick one of you lovely peeps to receive $200 toward holiday cards at Minted.

I'll announce the winner on Friday so you can bust out your cards over the weekend.

Good luck!

47 comments:

Ashley said...

I wish I knew the secret to getting my kids to look at the camera! I like our family pictures to represent who we are and what we like to do as a family. We go to the beach a lot, so this year our Christmas card will be a picture of us on the beach.

demureprincess7(at)gmail(dot)com

Mary said...

Awesome! Where do you even see photo booths anymore? I haven't seen one in years. These are fabulous though.

Tamsin North said...

This year we packed up the kids and our camera and tromped off to the forest for some family photos. We took it slow and just got whatever shots we got. There's a lot pictures of my son gathering wood and playing camping and my daughter snacking on whatever she found on the forest floor, but that's really where we are right now, and there's no harm in capturing that! We got roughly one photo where everyone is looking at the camera, and that, my friend, is our Christmas card this year.

Laura Wolfe said...

My secret is to try to get the photo during a summer vacation. Then I don't have to worry about it and can order at my leisure. If we can get one fairly decent, albeit staged photo in Seaside then we are good to go. I want something off beat next year - yours fit the bill, fun to open.

Mama J said...

I wish I knew the secret to a good family photo! My boys are 4 and 1, so right now it is kind of a lost cause. My solution at this point is not to fight that, and our holiday cards are usually a collage of casual, candid snaps from throughout the year, rather than one great photo of the four us (which I would love… maybe I'll get some good ideas from these comments… and I'm tempted to drive us all to the nearest photo booth and give that a whirl!). Thanks for this giveaway… i'd be thrilled to win!

Sasha Benear said...

Well, I don't have kids, but that doesn't make Christmas card photos any easier for me. My boyfriend is in general, not a picture person. It's very hard to get a photo of him where he just, umm, well doesn't look like a serial killer lol. It's bad. So I had grand plans this year of using our photo booth pics from my sisters wedding. Yeah, no. They are bad. And not in the "omg those are hilarious, those are so bad" type of way. More like "WTH are we doing! That is so NOT attractive! These just need to be burned" type of bad. So I think I'm going to try a photo/photos of the fur babies. Although that my be more challenging. I've got a "you're not seriously taking my picture right now", a "I'm too old for this s**t", and a spastic "OMG! OMG! I'm SO excited!!! I can't sit still!!!!"....wish me luck.

nicole said...

the secret is NOT PLANNING the photo but snapping an impromptu photo at a random event...you will all look more like you!

Christian said...

This is a great card!
My secret is to keep it funny and not fussy- usually pulling a pic from something we took candidly over the year- this is my favorite one we've done - note the stained clothes and messed up hair ;)
http://www.birdandbravery.com/2011/12/merry-christmas-yall.html

Meghan said...

I really like your idea! It's impossible for me to get my husband to agree to taking a nice photo, but he might be up for something like this.
My strategy so far has been to get him to pose for photos with me on my birthday!

jennifer said...

My secret? I'm still learning, but last year with an infant we picked a great photo of her, even though we looked goofy! Hopefully this year I'll get a good shot of all of us!

Vunda Vall said...

oh i love family pictures with funny faces! then the people who smile and try to look pretty look out of place! lol

dtdady at gmail dot com

momandsons said...

Our favorite family pictures have been on vacation or when we are out doing an activity we love togother. Everyone always seem more happy and relaxed.

thomasbetsy2 at gmail dot com

Emily said...

We just try to take lots and lots- nothing staged or planned, just tons of random shots- and there are bound to be some gems in there. We are also big fans of the photo booth & the hand-held camera family-selfie.

Vera Khule said...

Sometimes I tell the kids to make their scariest faces or their silliest faces.

Lauren said...

I think the key is a spontaneous photo. That or just take a picture of the pets!

Julie said...

Just be themselves
aunteegem@yahoo.com

terri h said...

My extended family takes a family photo each year in the summer and sometimes at Christmas. We like to make funny faces as well as a "nice" photo. The funny faces ones are always my favorites.

debbie said...

we just pick a good picture from our summer vacation. since it is from a happy time, it is a happy picture.

Meredith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anisha Gupta said...

The secret: chaos. Getting my entire dysfunctional, but unbelievably awesome, family under the same roof without the authorities being called for noise control, is a job within itself. Your pictures are awesome cause they capture the chaotic-ness of the holidays!

Alison said...

Last year, the three of us went for a walk on the golf course just before sunset and had my dad snap some photos. It worked really well because we were all relaxed.

Ellen said...

The best photos are the ones where we are smiling for real - like even our eyes are smiling. Not always the most photogenic look for me, but the happiness and love emanate.

Shelley Lane Kommers said...

Here's the secret:
wine for the parents, and sugar for the kids.
viola!

Allison Barkley said...

I've learned to close up our dog in the other room. Otherwise, he always photo-bombs the pictures!

Elaine said...

We've been married for 22 years, 2 sons, last year was the first family photo card!! My sister in law is an excellent family photographer, she snapped our pic at Thanksgiving and we used that! Lol this year when our 21 year old came homed from college I said I want us to get a family photo...Sunday we went to St James farm to take some photos, it was sunny but freezing here in Chicago. My sist in law was up for the challenge and after 90 shots we got a few! omg I loved reading your post because these photos ops are so frustrating and I think drinking before hand should be tried next time! Maybe it will be fun! Happy Holidays to your sweet family.

Tory said...

I am sans kids but I've helped my friends and sister get photos of their kids for cards, announcements, etc. My trick is to do it when they least expect it. Anytime I've tried to stage it, out come the goofy grins or pained looking smiles. Who are these kids? Instead I surprise them when they are in their element, just being themselves, full of lovely smiles.

Kathryn Rowe said...

Love the photo booth idea! Love and miss your family! Tell the girls I said hi and give them a hug for me!

everyday graces said...

I think changing up the location is key for us. Not always making it just so! A little spontenaety never hurt!

Barbie // Fringe & Feathers said...

I never plan it. Always have the camera on hand to snap spontaneous shots. But then again, I only use pictures of my little guy for the card. It's a bit easier. But it's still hard to get a natural smile. That's why I snap pictures every chance I get. One is bound to come out good ;) And love Minted! Great giveaway

nici said...

My secret it just to not be stressed or expect perfection from young children. I have a two year old and one month old. And a lot of times we get a good picture by accident that wasn't the posed one I was planning on.

chris prestridge said...

We hire a professional while on vacation in Maine. Have her meet us at our favorite spot in the whole world and follow us like the paparazzi while we do our thing. Always amazing results!

Emilie said...

The secret is to have fun!

Sarah Boon said...

Ask the kids to make crazy faces and keep the parents out of the picture. Works for us! (When we try for serious smiles, it just looks goofy.)

marina said...

We put on dance music, sunglasses and change up our hats every year. We all throw out peace signs too! More fun comes when we get to compare from year to year too!

Tracy said...

My kiddos are 6, 4, and 2... and all at varying levels of photo-cooperation! My best bet is to take the picture at the end of summer when they are rested and happy from days at the beach. I always promised ice cream cones at the end of the shoot. Some years, we keep snapping right through the ice cream messiness and that's when we get our best picture!

Sofia Zimmerman said...

Aside from shooting in the morning when the kid is happiest and looking fresh? Let go of perfection...which is kind of hard for me to do sometimes, but the nice thing is that when you let go, the camera catches you all as your real, authentic selves, and isn't that what family photos are all about? Last year during our 'photo shoot' with a family friend, we had a very distracted and sometimes grumpy toddler, a squirrel-obsessed dog who kept tugging herself out of the frame, and then there was the issue of my hair and no time for makeup. We couldn't all manage to look at the camera at once, but whatevs. It all turned out good. And it's my favorite photo of us so far. I'll post on my blog tonight. www.brooklynbaba.com. xo.

Sally said...

Last year was our first family photo and it was a disaster. After taking a bunch of terrible photos in front of the Christmas tree, we busted out the Polaroid and took candids of us being silly. Scanned those and that was the card. Planning on making the Polaroid a tradition now doing something fun instead of posing.

Holly said...

I think its safer to go for a fun, spontaneous photo than trying to get everyone to look completely civilized and smiley at the same time :)

Jennie said...

I think the key is going for a more casual vibe with awesome tunes playing in the background and lots of LOVE!

Cassie said...

I wish I knew THE secret; otherwise, I would have sent out Christmas cards last year. Our most successful card was taken on a horse farm with us in a golden tall wheat field at the magic hour. We don't look our best, but the background was stunning so it didn't really matter.

TheMuscatoHansens said...

A family photo takes a little planning (on Mama's part), some good light on a day when we all are on the go somewhere special. That being said, my husband ALWAYS closes his eyes, our littlest is NEVER looking at the camera and my middle monkey is always being a monkey and my eldest puts on a fake smile. And I just grin - real big. It is awful and okay and like you said, it works for right now and anything else is too stressful! I would L O V E to have my cards made at MINTED, beautiful ideas and a way to snazzy up our photo! Thanks for the opportunity!

Unknown said...

Stories. :) Our little one loves stories so I can talk her through photos and then get her to say random words to the camera, since "smile!" produces her classic cheese face!

Rosa said...

Photoshop and patience! And remembering that it's supposed to be fun and not perfect.

Michele said...

No secret yet! We would all be great at having pictures taken if my husband and I ever made it a PRIORITY. That's the first step, right? ;) Kinda joking, kinda not. We definitely don't have many family portraits, but when we do make it a priority we make sure it's quick and easy and don't force anything when it's not happening for the littles. I love the photo booth idea.

Holly said...

Even though we're considered to be too old for matching/coordinating outfits, we still do it anyway. It brings out the best in each of our personalities. Last year my brother, sisters & I all wore matching flannel shirts!

christa said...

Have fun with them. Make a quick backdrop with some fabric, put on some music, maybe grab some props and go. Maybe not the most picture perfect card but it will be free of pain.

AlliJean said...

my secret is to not not stage it at all - pick photos from travels & fun throughout the year!