Santa Photos Mini Sessions- FAQ

Santa Photos in Thompson Station, TN Covid safe

Nashville Santa and I still have a few spots open for Santa Photos this Friday, December 4. Williamson County kids are having an asynchronous day, so it’s a great chance to take a quick break from schooling and see Santa. The sessions are 15 minutes long and are $175. They include all the full-size digital images from your session, with a print release.

You can book a session at this link.

I’ve had a few questions about the sessions, so I thought I’d answer them now. We actually did one session yesterday, and it provides a good sample for you.

How many photos will I get?

I don’t know, but I’m a notorious over-shooter and have never been able to limit myself to x number of photos. 15 minutes is a pretty long time. If you’ve been to my indoor Santa sessions before at the schools, as a comparison, the average time for those was about 2 minutes.

How long before I get the photos back?

I know people want these for Christmas cards, so I’m going to try my absolute best to get them edited within a week or so.

Can we get a family photo?

Sure. Whatever you want for the 15 minutes. Just keep in mind what your priorities are and let me know. We don’t want to spend too much time on a family pic if what you really want are the kids interacting with Santa.

Can you make it snow on Friday?

OK, full disclosure here. It actually WAS SNOWING yesterday when I took these. But I did help it along a bit with my editing. I can do the same on Friday, even if Santa doesn’t bring me real snow twice in one week.

What will we wear?

Well this is totally up to you, but my biggest suggestion is to dress warm. The easiest thing for a last-minute, cute Santa session would be to have kids in cute coats (peacoats, maybe?) and cute hats and scarves. I LOVE Fallon’s hat below…adorable. You can often get hats and scarves overnight from Amazon if you don’t already have something you love.

Where are the photo sessions?

The Mini Sessions are at Sarah Benson Park (formerly known as Thompson Station Park.)

What are your COVID precautions?

The biggest coronavirus safety precaution is our decision to have this outside. There is no indoor backup plan so let’s hope it doesn’t rain. Also, the 15 minute time slots ensure there are not lots of families waiting together. We ask that you wait in your car until it’s your turn.

For Santa’s safety, the children will not be sitting on his lap. As you can see below, I have some stools they can sit on. If you’d like them to sit farther away from Santa than shown below, just let us know. Whatever you are comfortable with is fine. I will have Clorox wipes to wipe the stools down between each family.

You can’t see me in the photos obviously, but please know that I always wear a mask to work (and I’m currently only working outdoors, as is Santa). Santa is happy to wear a mask if you prefer it. He also changes gloves between each family.

If you have a high-risk person in your family and don’t feel comfortable doing photos, Nashville Santa is doing Zoom calls. I got one for my niece in North Carolina and it was stinking adorable. Just message him on his Facebook page to set it up.

What if I can’t do this Friday?

We can possibly do another time, but that will require a higher price, and the scheduling might be difficult.

Let them Be Wild – Nashville Family Photographer

One of the biggest compliments for me to hear, is that a family had fun at their portrait session with me. I feel strongly that good memories need to be associated with the pretty pictures. I want kids to be themselves, and that means running, jumping, playing and exploring their surroundings.

It’s not just that I feel like I HAVE to let them do those things to get through the session. It’s that I believe doing those things actually makes the session better. Capturing a big genuine smile on a child’s face as he races down the slide, means more to me than a formal posed image.

I love photographing Hadley and Harper so much. They are so active and FULL of personality. I first met them at Harper’s newborn session, and love seeing them each year. How can you not smile when you look at those faces?

They also come to see me when I take Santa photos each year, and seeing Harper talk to Santa was one of my favorite moments from last year. If you haven’t signed up yet, spots are going quickly for my Santa photos at the Spring Station Middle School Holiday Marketplace on December 7. All the ticket sales from the Santa Pictures go directly to support the Spring Station Middle School Band. Book your slot today!

My Memory Card Failed During this Family Portrait Session

About 20 minutes into this outdoor family portrait session, my camera suddenly refused to take a photo. I looked down at my camera screen, and saw a warning that said I had a memory card error, and to remove the defective card. The card was somehow damaged, and could not be accessed at all. All of the photos I had taken of these beautiful girls so far, were not on the card.

That might have been a moment of panic. For an hour long session, 20 minutes of shooting is a significant number of photos. And the girls had done such an amazing job. We had sang and danced and giggled in the gorgeous light of the most beautiful yellow tree at Thompson Station Park.

But instead of panicking and mourning the loss of those pictures, I simply popped out that memory card and replaced it with another one. You see, I wasn’t worried about losing images, because my camera holds two memory cards. When I take photos, the images are copied to both cards, so that even during a session, I always have a backup. One card was damaged, but the other one was just fine, and had all the photos from the first part of the session. So I just continued shooting without issue, with a new card from my bag as a second backup.

In fact, I always have two copies of your portrait session images. Once I get home from a session, I immediately copy one of the memory cards onto my computer. The other memory card from the session is then stored in a case, not be erased until I have uploaded the session to my online gallery, at which point I’ll have a copy online and a copy on my hard drive.

And I am so glad there are, because I wouldn’t have wanted to miss one photo of these amazing girls. This is the third year now that I’ve been blessed to photograph this wonderful family. Last year, I wrote about how much I love to see repeat clients each year, and that’s still true today. Seeing how these young ladies grow and change each year is one of the best parts of my job. ❤️

Share the Love Instagram Contest Family Portrait Session Part 2

Spring Hill, TN Family Photographer

Tuesday, I shared with you the first short portrait session from my Share the Love Instagram contest, and today I am excited to share a preview of the second session with you. 

I photographed Katie and her family about a year and a half ago when Maria was only four months old. They are just the sweetest, so I was so excited when she won the contest to be able to see them again. Maria is just the sweetest little girl and she was SOOOO easy to photograph. 

In case you missed yesterday’s post: in February, I hosted my very first contest on Instagram in celebration of Valentine’s Day. For my “Share the Love” contest, I asked people in or around Spring Hill to nominate a friend and tell me why that friend was terrific, and they both had to follow my Instagram page.  Then I randomly chose a nomination to win a free portrait session for both the person nominated and the nominator to share.  I loved reading all the comments people made saying sweet words about their friends, so I wanted to share them with you. 

I shared some of the comments yesterday, but here are the rest. I just love hearing about all the amazing women we have in our community. 

acbrinker826

@katiebramcamargoshe’s such a sweet friend and awesome mama! She deserves this!

mrsjladd

I’m nominating @ginamolsen! She is such a beautiful person inside and out, a fantastic mother, and an amazing friend. ❤️

michellebrownlee

I’ll nominate @rlcard– she was a great boss, a lovely lady, and Mom to 2 almost grown girls.

emilykalisz

I would like to nominate @summerssweetshoppe . She is the wife of a high school friend and has built her own business here in Spring Hill.

myersfamfive

I would like to nominate @mommamadorin. She is SUPERMOM, in every sense of the word. She is an amazing mom to three beautiful girls and an incredible friend.

katiebramcamargo

I would like to nominate @mirrayray8 as she deserves beautiful photos with her previous daughter Savannah. Miranda is the most caring, selfless, outgoing, beautiful inside and out mom there is❤️

katiebramcamargo

I would like to also nominate @ginamolsen ! A mom of 5 whose kids are always smiling and having a blast! she is a true hero. Gina is a busy mom but always takes the time to care for me, check on me during my lows, love on my daughter, celebrate my achievements and nurture my faith

mandysuttles

I would like to nominate my SIL, @joannaheck_4 When she and my brother got married almost 22 years ago, I was excited to finally have a sister! I remember forcing her to go get her nails done with me so we could bond. ❤️ Over the years, she has listened to my stories enthusiastically, offered me advice, and taken care of me and my family. Joanna is a fantastic mother of 4 awesome children and someone I go to when I need parenting advice. She has the best laugh, and she laughs a lot! There were many times when she and I stayed up late, laughing until we cried, on the back porch of their old house. I am so lucky that she said “yes” to my brother and joined our family. I know she would love family photos with her children since they have grown up too fast!

kendallnewsom

@acbrinker826 as if being a mom to a three-year-old isn’t exhausting, she has a six-month-old baby girl with special needs. She had to wait 6 long weeks for her to come home. She breastfeeds her round the clock, manages to care for her big brother, works two part-time jobs, one of which is getting up at 4 am to teach English as a second language. She takes her new baby to multiple therapies and doctors visits with very little sleep. I’m not sure how she’s managing it all but somehow she does. She deserves to win this 🥰

Share the Love Instagram Contest Family Portrait Session Part 1

Nursing Baby - Spring Hill, TN Family Photographer

In February, I hosted my very first contest on Instagram in celebration of Valentine’s Day. For my “Share the Love” contest, I asked people to nominate a friend and tell me why that friend was terrific, and they both had to follow my Instagram page.  Then I randomly chose a nomination to win a free portrait session for both the person nominated and the nominator to share.  They could decide to each take 30 minutes of a one-hour portrait session, or they could do the session all together as a big group.  

I designed the contest the way that I did because I was really feeling the need for some positivity and wanted to see what people would say about other women in their lives, and I was not disappointed.  

Katie, a fantastic client who I have photographed in the past, was the winner of the contest who nominated her friend Anna. This is the preview of my 30-minute session with Anna and her family.  I will do a separate post of the 30-minute session with Katie and her family.  In the blog previews, I want to include some of the inspiring words that women wrote about each other for the contest, including the winning nominations.

Here is what Katie said about Anna:

“I’d also like to nominate Anna! Mom of two that rocks it as a momma!! She deserves pictures of her adorable family. 💖”

In return, Anna said of Katie:

“Katie is such a sweet friend and awesome mama! She deserves this!”

Anna was also nominated by another friend, Kendall, who said:

“As if being a mom to a three-year-old isn’t exhausting, she has a six-month-old baby girl with special needs. She had to wait 6 long weeks for her to come home. She breastfeeds her round the clock, manages to care for her big brother, works two part-time jobs, one of which is getting up at 4am to teach English as a second language. She takes her new baby to multiple therapies and doctors visits with very little sleep. I’m not sure how she’s managing it all, but somehow she does. She deserves to win this!”

Even though it was my first time meeting her, I would have to agree with Kendall and Katie…Anna is a rock star momma with a beautiful family.  

I also want to share some of the nominations that didn’t win, because these rock star mamas are also deserving of praise.  Here are some, and I will include more in part 2 when I show you Katie’s beautiful family.

lotsofweavers

I nominate @theelizabethtaylor 
She is a giving and kind friend who goes out of her way to help and love others. I know she would greatly appreciate pictures this year with her husband and kids. It would be a great year to mark change and new beginnings. 💕

cborrello4224

Thank you @crystalfreemonphotography for hosting such a meaningful giveaway. Pictures capture a moment in time to be treasured forever. Your talent allows treasured keepsakes. I would like to nominate @amylynncanaday she is kind, considerate, and always goes above and beyond while she herself is suffering from 2 diseases and is praying a doctor in Michigan can help regain her life back.

emilykalisz

I would LOVE to nominate @anothergirlmom ! Not only is she an amazing mother of 4 beautiful girls, but she manages her husband’s business, her work schedule, and ALWAYS remembers when her friends have appointments. She has selflessly driven me to doctor appointments and helped us with our children when we needed assistance. She is one incredible woman!

tinalynnmartini

I would like to nominate @rhondaschmitz!! She is amazing in so many ways❤️! I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone as selfless and loving as Rhonda. I’m continually inspired by her commitment and love for others. She asks nothing in return and gives everything!

acbrinker826

@kendallnewsom my better half, she’s the most selfless friend I know and goes above and beyond to help my family, especially with my sweet Fisher girl. She deserves beautiful pics with her family!

bandteachergirl

I would like to nominate Kellie Olson @nellieisme777 . She is an amazing woman! She is a selfless, single mom that works full time to bring the best out of her students. She loves completely and never gives up on those she loves! This would be a chance for her to see the beauty in herself and her family. #sharethelove

myersfamfive

I would like to nominate @lyndtodd12 She is an amazing mom to a beautiful daughter, twin boys-one with special needs, a full time teacher, and a great friend. She is one of the strongest women I know and is absolutely the kindest. She is constantly thinking of others despite having her hands so full. I feel honored to be her friend. ❤️

Treat your photo session like a fun family outing

I prefer children (and parents) to have fun and be carefree at our photo shoots….often thinking of them more like playdates than photo sessions.  I believe that the memory associated with family photos should be a fun one, and not a memory of a stressful experience.  To me, creating a pleasant experience is just as important as the final product. 

Lana understood this vision completely and decided to bring along a picnic basket to their family session, and I absolutely love that idea. 

My style is very candid and natural, and I’m not really into props in the traditional photography sense. I do bring a variety of blankets for clients to sit on, but you won’t find me with much more than that. 

But what I do love to include in sessions is anything that a family would naturally have or do at an outing.  As a lifestyle photographer, my goal is portray your family in everyday situations, being together as you naturally would.  So a picnic is a great idea of something to include.  To me, the difference between this and a “prop” is that the picnic basket is something you would truly do in your ordinary life.  Unlike, for example, an choreographed backdrop or scene.  

There are lots of ideas of things you could do to add some fun to your family session. I’m going to list some ideas below, but the big thing is that whatever it is, it is something that fits YOUR FAMILY….something you’d normally enjoy together.

Ideas to do during a family session:

  • Bring a picnic (like Lana did!)
  • Bring a cooler of popsicles to enjoy at the end of the session…perfect for summer fun.
  • Have me to your home at your outdoor pool for a fun family session. 
  • Invite me to your family farm to capture a day in the life.
  • Do an at home lifestyle session and bake Christmas Cookies (or your Grandma’s favorite recipe) together as a family
  • Decorate the Christmas Tree at an indoor session
  • Bring a football, or other sport you enjoy together, to an outdoor session
  • Have an indoor session in your game room 
  • Bring your bicycles to an outdoor family session

The options are endless.  And of course, you don’t have to bring anything at all other than an open attitude about having fun at the session and enjoying the time with your family. 

Welcome to Spring Portrait Season

Fall was so amazingly busy and beautiful at the same time, and my Fall portrait season seemed to run right up until Christmas somehow.  For January and February, I had intentions of really focusing on and promoting my at-home documentary sessions, but honestly just enjoyed the time off too much to really have much motivation to book winter sessions.  But I did enjoy using the time to continue my education working on workshops and shooting personal work for my 365 project.

But now the sun is finally coming out and I’m feeling SOOOO ready to get back to photographing outdoor family sessions, which is my true passion. And what a beautiful March weekend we had to kick the season off right.

This session was actually a prize that I donated to my youngest daughter’s school.  The session went to the teacher who’s class raised the most money for their Fun Run this past Fall, and Ms. Stalling’s class blew it out of the water!  As PTO president, I was so overwhelmed with all the support that we got for the Fun Run, raising over $37,000.  With that money, we’ve been able to write a check for a new outdoor track (and now that Spring is here, hopefully they will be able to start working on it soon), AND we were able to buy 90 new Chromebooks for the school. 

Our teachers work so hard each and every day for our kids, I really wish I were able to give them all a session.  Please take a minute to thank a teacher in your life…it’s been a really rough month for most of them and they could really use some encouragement right now. 

There are only a few dates left for Spring Portraits, so if you want to book a session, don’t wait!