I look forward to seeing these boys at their family photo session every year. They are getting so big. This year we had a good talk about superheroes. We agreed that Spiderman, Thor, and Ironman are all pretty awesome.
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Is there anything more exciting than awaiting the arrival of a new baby? I am so happy for this beautiful couple, who are clearly so ready to meet their baby girl.
It was a freezing, cold session but you can’t tell from how beautiful and radiant mama looks. I want to make it clear that I never force clients to do a session when it’s as cold as it was on Friday. I keep my schedule pretty open this time of year so we can reschedule as needed. After all, it is Tennessee. If the weather doesn’t work, we can just wait a few days for a different season. But this session had already been rescheduled a few times. If we waited any longer, it may have turned from a maternity portrait session to a newborn session, so the clients wanted to brave the cold weather.
Mama-to-be looks stunning in this beautiful dress. This is a perfect choice for a maternity session or any portrait session for that matter.
I really can’t imagine what it must be like to be a senior during this pandemic. My heart breaks for them and all the experiences they have missed out on. Those lost memories are not trivial things. My sincere hope for the class of 2020 is that they are able to find some happiness in their day to day lives while maintaining hope for the future. I am confident that these young men and women will become the most resilient and resourceful generation yet. I have great confidence in them and can’t wait to see what their futures hold.
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.
This gorgeous family traveled from my hometown, Elizabethton TN, for their family portrait session, and I am so glad they did! Whitney is the best friend of my amazing sister-in-law, which kind of makes her like extended family. You might recognize sweet Zoe from photos I’ve taken at my niece’s birthday parties and other such events.
But this is the first time I’ve been able to do an actual family portrait session for them. They combined our session with a weekend family getaway to the Opryland hotel, which I thought was a fantastic idea. They were able to visit the ICE! at Gaylord Opryland and all the holiday fun at the hotel. Then, before returning to East Tennessee, they met me at Winstead Hill Park in Franklin for a fun fall family portrait session.
The weather was gorgeous, which was my one fear… I wasn’t sure how we would reschedule if the weather didn’t cooperate, considering the 5 1/2 hours they traveled to get here. But we couldn’t have asked for a better day, and they were so much fun to photograph. Zoe is a natural in front of the camera and so much fun to be around. As a side-note, I love the rose pink color of your outfit and think it worked perfectly for fall photos.