With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to start planning that holiday card. We tapped the creative director and cofounder of CardFool, Tim McCabe, for his best tips on capturing the perfect family photo, without the pricey professional.

1. Magic Time. If you have grade-school kids or younger, be prepared to get in and get out. Kids typically can sit and participate for about 20 minutes (that time is even shorter for the toddler and preschooler set!). But with a game plan, you can utilize those 20 minutes efficiently.

2. Get Lit. Make sure the background is properly lit. With cameras these days, you can review a photo before you go ahead and print it to ensure everyone’s faces forward and clearly visible.

3. Skip The Props. If you are having more than eight people in the frame, skip the props and instead focus on your location. You don’t need any extras like bales of hay or a gigantic Christmas tree taking up precious real estate. Think simple and clean, regardless of how many people are in the photo. This applies to everything, clothing, background, poses, etc.

4. Smartphone. If you don’t have a fancy camera, or know someone who does, don’t worry. Today’s smart phones are equipped with a great camera. The key to making the photo professional are three simple tips. First, have someone else snap the photo. You don’t want your holiday photo to be a selfie. Second, capture the photo both horizontally and vertically, making sure that the legs and head are not chopped off. That way when it comes time to choosing the card layout, you have some options. Third, have fun with the filters. Your phone comes with several color options and lighting, play around with it, but don’t choose more than two different filters to prevent the photo looking over-processed.

5. Have fun! With today’s busy life, treasure the moment that your family is all together and you’re spending some quality time capturing a great moment. Reflect on the past year, your family’s accomplishment, and don’t forget to say “cheese.”

Tim McCabe is creative director and co-founder of CardFool.com, the only funny online personalized greeting card service. Knowing that there was no funny card website where you could personalize and add your own photos to cards, Tim and a group of writers and artists decided to build CardFool.com. He helped launch CardFool in 2015 so that more people can customize and send funny cards easily… and because he believes in free first class postage! (CardFool includes free stamps on all sent cards!) Check out his own family’s 2017 holiday card: