I wrote an entire blog post just a few days ago, and I think that is my limit for this very busy week. So for this beautiful family portrait session in Spring Hill, I think I will let the photos speak for themselves. These sweet boys are getting so big. Happy fifth birthday, Ty!
Are you following me on Instagram? That’s a great place to keep up to date on future openings. I have a couple spots left for my Holiday Family Mini Sessions. Or are you looking for a senior photographer? Either way, you can book a session directly from my online booking calendar, or contact me if you have questions.
This family of five portrait session at the Park at Harlinsdale Farms in Franklin was such a joy to photograph. Sometimes at a family photo session, kids can be a little shy at first, so I take things a little slow. As a photographer, you learn to adapt to the vibe of the kids you are working with. But shyness was definitely not a trait of these kids. They got right out of the car full of personality and questions. I just love their energy and excitement.
One thing I love about being a family photographer is that each one is beautifully unique. I could photograph a hundred families on the same day at the same location (if there was time), and no two of them would be the same. Some kids wanna be still, cuddled up to mom. Some kids want to run and play and be silly. Some are serious, some are goofy. They are all beautiful.
My goal is to capture something about who they are right now, as a family, and as individuals, in my photographs. I hope that I’ve accomplished that. I certainly enjoyed getting to know each of them.
If you haven’t booked Fall Family portraits yet for your family, I still have a few spots left, so book yours today! I also have one spot left for Holiday Mini Sessions at Country Cove Farm on October 23 and will probably be adding another date later today. The Mini Sessions are great for small families, older kids or kids who are used to working with me. If you have a large group or think it may take some time for the kids to warm up to me, you may want to book a full session.
Here goes my annual plug in favor of sending holiday cards in the mail. In almost every other way, I tend to choose the greener, more efficient way of doing things. I loathe writing checks, and much prefer Venmo. I decide to do most things online rather than paper versions. I’m content reading an e-book.
But there is just something about receiving an old fashioned paper Christmas card in the mail. I particularly love the ones with family photos (I know…shocker.) I tape each one to our front door and admire them until well after the New Year.
But I know many of my friends and clients are overwhelmed about getting a Christmas card made and sent out, so I thought I’d offer a few tips to help you with this holiday task.
STEP 1: Getting the Photos
The most obvious choice for getting photos for your annual holiday card is to use the images from your yearly family portrait session.
You can also use photos you’ve taken throughout the year. Last year, my family went on a vacation to Toronto and Niagara Falls for Thanksgiving week. I used photos I took from that vacation (including some phone selfies!) for our holiday card, and everyone seemed to really enjoy them. So don’t think your holiday card has to be all fancy or posed. I haven’t decided this year whether to use vacation photos or the more formal ones I just took a few weeks ago of our family for this year’s Christmas card.
One of my best friends recently set up her phone to take a selfie photo of her family (including their sweet dog) in front of their fireplace. They propped up the phone on a shelf and then used a smartwatch to trigger the photo, but a timer would work fine too. She had the stockings all hung, and it looks super festive and cute. This is an excellent option if you didn’t have family photos made this year, or, if like her, you had spring photos made and want something more festive looking for your holiday card.
Another great option is to come to see Santa Claus and me at the Spring Station Middle School Holiday Market on December 7. Your $25 pre-order ticket includes admission to the Spring Station Holiday Market event for two adults and your children & digital photo downloads of your Santa visit that you can use for your holiday card! Book your spot now before they sell out.
STEP 2: Printing the Photo Cards
If you had pictures made with me this year, you could design and purchase a holiday card straight from your session photo gallery. There are lots of high-quality options, and they print and ship super fast.
If you are using your own photo, I recommend Mpix.com for all your printing needs, including Christmas & Holiday cards. They are having a 50% off sale on Christmas cards that ends today if you are ready to get it done.
And of course, there are plenty of other printing options, such as Shutterfly. I have found the print quality of cards from Shutterfly to be mixed, but with their sales and coupon codes, they are definitely a good choice if you are looking to save a few bucks.
I’m just going to remind you now that if you print professional photos at Walgreens, then a unicorn will die.
STEP 3: Mailing the Photos
I know some people insist that Christmas cards should be hand addressed and signed. I’m not one of those people. My list is huge, and in this case, I’m an advocate that done is better than perfect. So I make it easy on myself.
I either have the place I’m ordering cards from print my return address on the envelopes, or I use return address labels (this year, I got some on sale from Shutterfly).
I keep a document on my computer of addresses, formatted to print onto adhesive Avery address labels. Each year, I review the list to see if it requires changes and then print the labels to address my cards. If any cards are returned to me, I make sure to figure out why, and then edit the list accordingly for next year’s cards.
I’ve seen some people on Facebook using google forms to collect addresses of people who want to receive a card from them. That’s a great place to start if you are beginning from scratch, but be sure to save the addresses in printable form to use again next year to make it super easy for you.
Bonus tip: This year, I ordered discount Forever stamps from Ebay to save a few bucks on shipping the cards, which is good since I send out so many.
That’s it, then sit back and enjoy the rest of the holidays knowing you did your part in spreading cheer.
Gorgeous family photo session with some of my favorite people
Speaking of festive holiday cheer, check out these photos of one of my absolute favorite clients. I adore their clothing choices for this session – perfect for a holiday card, but not so Christmasy that they won’t look great hanging on their walls year-round. These kids keep me on my toes, but I adore them and always end up loving the photos of them. They are so full of life and personality, and everything I love about photographing young children.
If you book a family portrait session with me most times of year, one of the questions on your booking paperwork will ask you where you’d like to shoot the photo session. I have a page on my website that will tell you about locations I frequently use, and I’m here to help you if you want it.
But you may notice that if you book a session for a weekend in October or November, that I’ve already chose a portrait session location.
The reason for this is that in the busy season, I generally book 3 back to back sessions on the weekend, with only about 15 minutes between them. This is just enough time for me to switch memory cards, so I don’t have time to drive to another location between sessions.
I used to let the first client who booked a particular date choose the location, and then those who booked the date after that would have to agree to that spot. But this complicated the booking process.
Also, I have more requirements for long shooting days than I have for just magic hour sessions. For the rest of the year, most of my sessions are scheduled for the hour before sunset…known in photographer lingo as “magic hour”. Magic hour lighting is pretty great anywhere. But when I am booking sessions earlier in the day, then I have to be sure that a location has some shade available, because the sometimes harsh sunlight of earlier in the day is not ideal for photos. But the proper location can allow a shaded spot from which the sun comes through the trees beautifully.
But for this session and the two before it, the bright sun wasn’t a big concern because it was a nice overcast day.
These two sweet brothers did an amazing job for their session. Those eyes! How can you not smile from looking at them?