NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If the holidays crept up on you and you haven’t had a chance to take a family photo for your greeting card, don’t worry.

CBS2’s Cindy Hsu spoke with experts about the dos and don’ts of getting the right shot.

Professional photographer Christine DiPasquale said forget the idea of getting the ‘perfect picture’ and that yelling ‘smile’ or ‘cheese’ will only result in a fake smile. Her advice was to just have fun.

“I say funny things to them. I jump around, and then I capture them when they’re reacting to the moment,” she said.

She said keep the heads and bodies close together for the best family shots.

“I wanted to capture what they’re feeling in their faces when they’re holding their child,” she said, “It could be a very funny picture with kids being really goofy because that’s what’s going to make people smile too.”

If you can’t get everyone together for the picture, create a photo collage.

Shooting profiles and back to back shots can make it easier if you’re dealing with people who don’t like to pose for pictures.

And you can always do shots that can work year round.

“You don’t do something that’s really Christmassy, or a Chanukah theme. Just wear regular clothes,” DiPasquale said.

The Lovci family went with a little burgundy in each outfit, and said it was a fun shoot, especially since mom backed off on the hair.

“No matter what it has to be perfect, you have to comb the hair and right when we’re about to take the photo…’wait we have to fix the hair,’ Olivia Lovci said.

It’s also fun to think outside of the box. You can shoot a holiday picture just about anywhere.

Dipasquale said she gets better lighting shooting outdoors.

“Shooting at a cloudy sky, preferably on a cloudy day. Too much sun can ruin the picture. If you’re staying indoors, photograph near a window for good lighting,” she said.

Experts said reverse psychology often works with kids. If they don’t want to be in the picture take a few without them and see if they warm up to the idea. Also, keep the session short and casual.




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