Christmas is here! And one of my favorite things about being a photographer is helping people plan for family Christmas cards. Yes, I know they can be extremely stressful and overwhelming for moms—but not this year! I have scouted Dollywood during their Smoky Mountain Christmas festival and have found some of the best and prettiest spots for family Christmas card photos!
- The Dollywood sign at the main entrance on Showstreet– If you want to show your love for all things Dollywood, this is the perfect spot for family photos. The Dollywood sign is all decked out with gorgeous poinsettias and the area will accommodate for large or small groups. Another plus is that a Dollywood photographer will take this picture for you.
- Showstreet– Another great photo op is the decorated buildings and trees that line Showstreet. The area is heavily filled with multicolored lights and would be a beautiful backdrop to give your pictures an old time Christmas feel. Since this is a heavily trafficked area, a small group, individual, or selfie picture would be best-suited here. Also consider that you might have to ask someone outside your group to take your picture, too. Overall, this area is very picturesque and will make your pictures stand out for sure.
- Rivertown Junction/Market Square– For a more traditional setting, you’ll want to go to the Christmas tree display in Market Square. Here, you’ll find a huge and beautifully decorated tree along with enormous Christmas ornaments that will make your pictures scream “Merry Christmas!” This is another area that has a Dollywood photographer who will take your picture for you.
- Robert F. Thomas Chapel/Craftsman’s Valley– If you’re wanting your Christmas cards to represent the true meaning of Christmas, this is where you need to go. The chapel is always a beautiful spot, but the Dollywood team has outdone themselves this year. Tall, lighted lanterns greet you on each side of the steps of the chapel with even more lanterns hanging from the trees above. It’s truly breathtaking. You will also find a life size nativity scene and a cluster of lighted evergreens that would be a great background as well. A selfie, individual, small or large groups photos would be ideal at the chapel.
- The Plaza at Wilderness Pass– Another traditional setting that will make your Christmas photos stand out is the 50-ft. Christmas tree that takes center stage in The Plaza. You can get your family picture directly in front of the tree or use the outside arbor entrance for a different view. Either way, your pictures will have that “O Christmas Tree” experience. Be sure and stay to watch the animated production that happens throughout the night. It’s truly a do-not-miss attraction!
- Wildwood Grove– As you make your way to Wildwood Grove, be sure to grab a picture under the arches that light the tunnels into this area. This is a fun spot and one that the kiddos will enjoy. This area would be perfect for small groups, just the kids or individual. And it would be great for a quick and easy picture.
- Timber Canyon– Close to the Glacier Ridge Artic Passage, you will notice an area that is full of lighted evergreens! If this is the first area you go to when you arrive, it’s a great opportunity to grab that picture while everyone is fresh and ready! This area is large enough to use different spots and views and will accommodate for small or large groups. Don’t forget the Glacier Ridge arch, too. Not only would it be a great keepsake photo but a great card photo, too.
These are just a few of my favorite spots for Christmas card photos, but there are so many other pretty locations throughout the park. Whether you take a selfie, ask a professional Dollywood photog to take your picture with your phone or pay for a more professional image, planning for your Christmas card will be a breeze this year!
Tried and True Photographer Tips:
📸 Consider purchasing the Dollywood Photo Pass to help you design your Christmas card. There are lots of borders and design elements offered to help you create your perfect Christmas card! You can learn more about the Photo Pass from Dollywood Insider Justin, HERE.
📸 If it’s a sunny day, look for a spot that is well-shaded. Shade from a tree or building will block out direct light that will create harsh shadows. You don’t want raccoon eyes in your Christmas pictures.
📸 If you’re wanting to take your pictures in the evening, the best time to take them is right before dusk, or The Golden Hour. You’ll still have enough light for your subjects to be well lit while being able to capture the Christmas lights in your background.
📸 Use your flash sparingly. Flash can create heavy shadows in your pictures and blow out the color of the Christmas lights.