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Lauren Bacho

Fully Focused: Ways to take exciting family portraits during the holidays

Columnist Lauren Bacho discusses some new ways to make your holiday family photos more exciting.

I know every family’s instinct is to take the family Christmas card photo during the Thanksgiving break. Tell your parents that I say go for it. Why should I be the only sleep-deprived college student who has to find something fetching to wear in my mountain of laundry just to stand in front of a bad backdrop? Your sons will have nice scraggly beards from no-shave November, and your daughters’ legs will also probably have a nice forest to go with the dress you make her put on for the photo. It’ll really give the family photo that “rustic” outdoorsy feel. You could go for a lumberjack theme and have everyone wear flannels and beanies.

If the lumberjack scene just isn’t for you, try something crazy this year and take your family portrait on Black Friday. I’m not suggesting going to a studio on Black Friday. Actually, have the photo taken in the middle of the mall with everyone running and screaming around you. It’ll really represent the holiday spirit. Maybe you should throw on some matching sweaters just so everyone gets the memo.

Also, forget the fancy camera this year. That new iPhone 6 is good enough to take some great photos of you and the fam. Definitely use flash to light up everyone’s faces and to really accentuate the beer face your son has been working on all semester and the beer gut your daughter has that kind of makes her looks like she’s pregnant. The flash will also show off all of those ugly blemishes everyone has gotten from eating so much junk food at school. This way you can really be transparent with your family portrait and show the world the “real” you.

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Make sure you post all the takes on social media immediately afterward, so your Internet friends can get some good ideas from you as well. You should really live-tweet the event to show how miserable everyone is when the entire family gets together and is forced to pretend they like each other. (Ask your kids for Twitter tips.) It’ll give the whole experience a “raw” feeling. Makes it very cutting edge.

If you’re feeling extra wild this holiday season, you could go on an extravagant vacation and take the family photo with everyone relaxing in the pool. This one will really show your friends and enemies how much money you make. Or waste. Definitely have everyone holding some kind of mixed drink as well, like a pina colada. Don’t leave out the underage kids  you need to show everyone that you’re the cool parents, too.

One way to be really authentic is to force everyone to wake up in the middle of the night and have the photo be of everyone, very disgruntled, in their pajamas in the living room. Do your kids wear pajamas? No one will ever think you’re hiding something after that Christmas card goes live. That’s definitely an authentic representation of the whole family.

Lauren Bacho is a sophomore studying photojournalism and a photo editor for The Post. Do you have other ideas for the family Christmas card? Tweet her @Visual_Bacho or email her at

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