Senior dental assistant and receptionist Tammie said: 'This was Ryder's third year going to meet Santa, and the first year he wasn't screaming and crying.
'The previous years he was so scared. Last year he was crying so much we had to get a photo with Santa hiding behind us so he didn't realise he was there.
'This year was the first time he was happy to see Santa. The photographer was asking us to smile and do different faces, we had lots of different photos taken.
The family had gone to Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas lights display near Tammie's home in Cessnock, New South Wales.
'In total I bought about 17 different photos, they were emailed to me for me to print for about $35,' Tammie said.
'It wasn't until the next day when I was uploading the photos and a friend was looking at them, that she noticed Ryder was sticking his middle finger up.
'Until she said it, I hadn't spotted it at all and didn't notice he was doing anything out of the ordinary – I just thought it was a nice photo of us all.
'What's so funny is Ryder is not the type of kid to do that, he's such a shy little boy so it just came out of nowhere. He's not the type of child to go out of his way to talk to anyone or cause trouble.
'It took everything he had and everyone convincing him just for him to even say two words to Santa.'
She and Matthew, a fire technician, now plan to hang the offending image in pride of place in their home and said it is much better than your average family photo.
'We still really don't know whether or not it was intentional – I haven't asked him. His facial expression certainly makes it look intentional,' Tammie said
'Everyone we have shown has found it absolutely hilarious – it is really funny and everyone's had such a good reaction to it,' she added.
'I prefer this one out of all the pictures we got now – I'd rather have this one hung on the wall than a normal one.'