T minus 2 days til Black Friday!

Let’s face it: Many of you dread bringing in the family/kids for holiday portraits. Traffic is everywhere, noses start running, and even as bellies become empty and diapers become full, the kids have to be at their best and those outfits must be perfect!

Well, it doesn’t have to be a stressful time. We understand how hard it is to get it all together, which is why we strive to offer a relaxed environment, exceptional service, and a fun experience. Yes–that’s right–FUN!

Even after the photo shoot (when your kids are running out of juice), we offer water bottles, toys, coloring, and lollipops to keep them happy and occupied while you make your selections.

Lots of Moms ask us what they can do to prepare for their holiday portrait session. So, we put together 10 tips for a great photo shoot. Enjoy!

1. Get your kids excited! During the weeks and days leading up to the big day, give your photography session a positive connotation. Talk about how they get to see themselves on the screen, or the special prize that they get if they do a good job. If you think about the event with anxiety and horror, so will they. Yes, there is a very important goal in mind–to get that perfect shot–but it’s also time you spend together as a family. It should be fun. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed they are.. and relaxed kids are excellent models!

2. Avoid naptime. When you’re booking an appointment that involves toddlers, it’s worth it to avoid that time of day when you enter the twilight zone and your toddler morphs from the sweet little munchkin your raised into that wild-eyed tantrum-beast you don’t recognize. Most of the time, you just can’t mess with nature.. and your session will go a lot smoother if the kids are awake and alert.

3. Set your clock ahead 10-15 minutes. Well, ok–you don’t have to go to that extreme, but always plan to be early. During the holidays, remember Murphy’s law–there will be traffic, you won’t be able to find parking, and the elevator will be broken. If you’re running early, there’s no reason to stress over those silly things…. and you’ll have plenty of time to change your kids before the photo shoot!

4. Don’t be afraid of the camera. You may not have expected to be in any of the portraits.. but we don’t charge extra for additional poses, so while you’re here.. why not? You’ve made the effort to come in, so make the best of your portrait session. It doesn’t affect your sitting fee! Or, maybe you DID plan on being in the pictures but you’re worried about your hair, the drool stain on your sweater, or the big scratch mark on your baby’s nose.. Again: the less you worry, the happier you look, and the glow of a happy moment can overcome any imperfect detail in a picture. Plus, we do a magical little thing called retouching!

5. Take off the shoes and stay awhile! As adorable as they are in that holiday-cheer-from-head-to-toe outfit, sometimes your child or toddler will be sitting down for a pose or two.. and chances are, the bottoms of their feet will be facing the camera. Bare piggies look so much cuter than the bottoms of shoes (which can be distracting and, well, unsightly). On a similar note, babies up to 9 or even 12 months old look adorable in just their their birthday suits. Try a few poses in their diaper or a diaper cover. They have great skin, and most babies are more comfortable that way anyhow!

6. Call as early as possible! Most of our studios are completely booked solid this time of year.. often a week in advance, sometimes 2 or 3 weeks! It’s never too early. Get it out of the way now. We’ll call you 2 days prior to the appointment as a reminder, and if you need to cancel or reschedule, of course you can (at no charge). Also, take into consideration that our holiday cards take between 1 and 2 weeks to produce, depending on the style.

7. Bring the survival kit. Here are some things I would include in my portrait survival kit:
-Extra clothes
-Personal items (like a favorite blankie or toy) you may want in the pictures
-Tissues or wet wipes (for boogers & drool)
-A comb
-Lint roller (if you don’t have any, we usually do)
-Diaper bag
-Bleach pen (for stains–they really work! I use the one from Clorox)

Of course, you can customize the list for your individual family’s needs.

8. Express yourself. If you have a particular idea in mind, voice it! Our photographers are ready and willing to listen, and do all they can to create what you want. Also, tell them anything else they should know–one of your kids is a little shy at first, they don’t like the “tickle stick,” or you’re really hoping to show off that outfit because it was a gift from Grandma.

9. Pick out your cards before you come in. If you really don’t like making decisions in the studio, we now post our entire selection of holiday cards on our website, in the card and border gallery! This way, you can check out our selection in the comfort and quiet of your own home. The cards have the same name on the website as they do in the studio, so ordering can be as quick and easy as you want. If you’re looking for more detailed pricing, send us a message or give us a call and we’d be happy to fill you in.

10. Personalize. Maybe your toddler has a favorite song, or your kids have a favorite game.. or your teenager can quote any scene from High School Musical. All of these things can break the ice and make the difference between a pouty portrait and a fun one that truly represents your personality as a family.. and that’s what portraits are all about!

We look forward to seeing you soon.

I’ll close with a few more testimonials from this past week…. hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

“It was a wonderful experience for us and especially my daughter. The photographer was amazing. The best experience by far. She was wonderful, kind, patient and an excellent photographer. I wish I could have purchased all of the pictures. I had already exceeded my budget but it was well worth it. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and am looking forward to going back. The photographer was Kim Travers – what a wonderful person!!! She was excellent. “ -Ghislaine C. (Warwick) 11/15/09

“We had Jenna as a Photographer and she was so great with my kids and so patient afterwards with me while trying to choose a photo. She was a pro with the photo software and I have already recommended her to friends and will defi nately ask for her in the future!! She was awesome!”
-Marilou K. (Natick) 11/16/09

“This was my first studio experience with my 3-yr old and 5-mo old. It went so well and we’re in love with our pictures. I’m so happy that we bought the year membership, as we’ll be back often.” -Christy L. (Eastview) 11/17/09

“Meghanne did an excellent job – working with me by allowing extra time that was available when I had to pause the shoot to nurse my baby. That was GREAT customer service.” -Jennifer W. (South Shore) 11/18/09

“The experience was everything I wanted it to be and more. My kids were talking the next day about how much fun they had at your studio!” -Mara T. (Atrium) 11/18/09

“My children were getting a little out of hand at the end of the viewing process, and Lauren didn’t bat an eyelash…she was completely professional and never seemed to get annoyed with us! She was great, and more importantly, an amazing photographer!!!!” -Amanda H. (Atrium) 11/19/09

“I had Jenn as a photographer and she was wonderful! I didn’t think there was any way a photographer could get my 4 year old twins and 16 month old son to smile all at the same time. Not only did she do it, but I had a hard time choosing because there were so many where they were all smiling. I ordered Christmas cards with the family picture and it is stunning. Thanks!” -Kate K. (Westfarms) 11/21/09

“Kathryn was FANTASTIC! Lovely, professional, patient! Especially given the amount of energy required to photograph our family! Thank you for a great experience! We will certainly come back for our family photos. Thank you!” -Lauri B. (Natick) 11/21/09

“Loved that the photographer was quick and efficient while shooting the kids. My children are 12 and 10 and were not thrilled at the prospect of having their pictures taken. It was over before they knew it and the photog was able to get some great shots.” -Michelle F. (Rockingham) 11/22/09

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