By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
Every fall, along with apple picking and pumpkin carving, the cool air inspires me to break out the coordinated-but-not-matching sweaters and book a time to get our family picture taken. And yet no matter how hard I try, the nice holiday card memory making eludes us. "This is serious," I said as I looked each of my four children squarely in the eye. "All I want is to get one nice family picture of all us. No crying, no screaming, no de-pantsing your brother. Just a nice picture with everyone facing forward and our eyes open. You think you can do this for me?" My kids all nodded solemnly... each with a finger up his or her nostril. Do you see what I'm against?!
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Pro tip 1: Try not to look posed; go for a casual candid shot. Reality check: Our "candid" looks like an MMA cage fight minus the cage.
Pro tip 2: Matching is out. Go for "coordinated", like you just happened to walk out of the same Tommy Hilfiger store. Reality check: I'd settle for anything clean with no Spongebob much less six outfits in the same color family.
Pro tip 3: Look festive! Reality check: Look sweaty! Who knew this October was going to be a fluke 85 degrees when I bought those sweaters?
Pro tip 4: Smize (smile with your eyes, Tyra Banks-style) Reality check: How about just keeping your eyes open? When we told our 7-year old to relax in front of the camera, he laid down on his back and closed his eyes in his best yoga pose.
Pro tip 5: Bring rewards. Reality check: Little sucker sticks look like cigarettes poking out of tiny mouths. Try explaining that in the holiday letter.
Pro tip 6: Use props that show your unique personality. Reality check: You've seen Awkward Family Photos, right?
Pro tip 7: Don't go for perfection, the little flaws are what makes the picture beautiful. Reality check: We nailed this one.
Do you do a formal family picture each year? What's your tip for getting a good picture with kids?
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