Holiday card season is just around the corner, and the race is on to get a good family photo!

It has to be good enough to impress your mother-in-law, satisfy your picky pre-teen, and capture everyone at their best.

No pressure, right?!

The pressure doesn’t stop there: Outfits must be coordinated. Fresh haircuts must be scheduled. A photo session must be booked. Don’t let the expense create another source of stress. Quality photos don’t always have to cost big bucks.

How to save on a family portrait

  • Find a newbie. Seek out new photographers who are just launching their business. They will most likely have professional equipment and offer a lower price for their services. Beginning photographers want to build their portfolios and often offer cheaper pricing until they get more experience under their belt.
  • Look for last-minute deals. Contact local photographers to see if they have any last-minute sessions available for a discount. Photographers don’t want empty sessions, so a discounted session may be better to them than none at all.
  • Rent It! Did you know that you can rent professional grade photography equipment? Try your hand in photography and get crisp quality photos without purchasing pricey cameras and lenses. For under $100 you can rent a professional camera and lens for three days from websites like
  • There’s an app for that. Your next family photo could become a unique and professional looking image with an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Use the internal camera in these devices to your advantage. Free apps like Instagram and Adobe Photoshop Express offer basic editing tools at your fingertips to enhance your family photos on an iPad. If you have an iPhone or iPod touch you could purchase inexpensive apps like Photogene ($2.99) or ColorSplash ($1.99) to create interesting details in your photos to create a unique portrait.
  • Skip the Photo. You can still send personalized holiday cards without a photo. offers 10 photo cards (5 x7 folded cards) with customizable family caricatures for $7.49 plus shipping. Just choose gender, head shape, hair and eye color, nose and mouth plus any accessories, and you’ve got yourself a cute cartoon version of your family portrait printed on a holiday card.
  • E-cards are easy. Wow, e-cards have come a long way! has some really eye catching holiday greeting cards that can be personalized with music, photos, and even videos! The benefits of this option are two-fold: The e-card designs offered by this website are free AND now you don’t have to pay for postage.
  • Consider social media. Sites like makes it easy to share holiday greetings from your family through designing animated slideshows of photos and videos you upload. Your creations can be quickly shared through email and social media feeds, so last-minute creations can be quickly distributed in time for the holidays! This site offers free 30-second creations, or a full-length video costs around $3.

This is a guest post by Sarah from Indianapolis, IN
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5 thoughts on “Snap Family Photos Without Snapping Your Budget”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Happy savings to you this holiday season!

  2. Momof3 says:

    Photography is a hobby of mine, so I take my families’ photos. I purchased a nice DSLR camera for around $700 a few years ago. It’s definately paid for itself. I also took advantage of all the free photo cards that were offered last year around this time, like by Walgreens , Rite Aid and Walmart. Plus I get alot of free promotional photo offers from the studio near us.
    Also if you live near a liberal arts collage, you could advertised your family as willing models for the photography students.

  3. Steph says:

    Crap like this is why professional photographers are struggling. It’s more than renting a professional grade camera.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for your comment. Mostly we hope that this inspires people to find affordable, creative ways to have their family photos taken this year.