A Peek Behind the Scenes: Christmas Sessions

We are well into November and that means family photo + Christmas card season. My calendar is swimming with sessions and my computer is overflowing with images to be edited and delivered to clients. There’s a good chance that if you call me any day of the week and ask what I’m up to, I’ll tell you photos. So many photos. 

Yesterday I hosted my special edition Christmas sessions and today I thought I’d give you a sneak peek into what it looked like behind the scenes. 

But let’s start at the beginning….like way back September. It was almost 90 degrees when I pulled into my friend’s driveway with Christmas garland spilling out of the backend of our SUV. (Luckily stores like to start selling Christmas decorations in the summer these days.) Our friends Kelli & Brent had happily agreed to let me use their home for my sessions this year and I couldn’t be more grateful. 

But before I could share my plans with my clients, I had to have something to show them as an example, which is what landed me there in September. When I walked in there were half dressed toddlers running in circles and Christmas pajamas flung across the couch. I was pulled back to the bedroom to survey their outfit choices and make the final decision…red pants or black pants for the baby? Sweater or button up for dad? Next I headed upstairs to weigh in on my other friends’ outfits…half the contents of Gap was spilled on the bed and we waded through their options. 

While everyone got dressed I headed back downstairs to start decorating. The guys helped me hang wreaths in windows, string lights, and figure out how to attach a pinecone swag above the stove. 

The sun was dipping quickly and we had to get started on the photos. I spent the rest of the afternoon setting up shots in the kitchen, on the window seat, and outside on the front porch. We experimented with different angles and jumped up and down to earn toddler smiles. It was fun and exhausting and I felt good when I left, knowing I had a solid plan for Christmas sessions and also got to spend the day with some of my favorite people.

So fast forward to Saturday when I drove across town in the cold rain, drinking my first coffee of the day and thanking God that I had an indoor place for photos. I stopped by a local store to grab a bunch of their giant sugar cookies for props and threw in a bottle of wine for my friend. This time when I pulled into Kelli’s driveway, I felt a little anxious, knowing I had to get everything set up before my first clients arrived in an hour, but excited to see how it all came together. 

We decorated again, laid out the cookies, and sprinkled flour across the baking scene in the kitchen. Kelli helped me to place the throw pillows in the window seat and drape the fleece blanket over the back of the porch swing. She called her husband to figure out how in the world to get Christmas music to play through their speakers and I jotted down the list of my clients and the times they were supposed to arrive. 

My very first clients were brand new faces and I was excited to meet them.  When they climbed the steps in matching black and white Christmas PJ’s, I knew they’d be fun. Their daughter smiled sweetly while her baby brother took a bit bite out of my sugar cookie prop.  😂 By the time they left 30 minutes later, I felt like I’d known them for awhile. I hope they come back to see me. 

After that my clients started rolling in, one right after the other…gathering their family and ducking in out of the rain. We had toddlers, cousins, siblings, and a new baby. There were sparkly Christmas dresses, matching PJs, and bows the size of your head. 

So here’s a little peek…pics Kelli snapped while I was working with my families and some detail shots I grabbed between sessions: 

Sunday I woke up sore and a little groggy. Maybe all the jumping up and down & climbing on the kitchen counter is to blame. You never realize just how physical photography is until you spend all day doing it. 

Yesterday I picked my camera back up & headed out to another photo session that was very special to me. I got the chance to take senior photos for a young man who was my student when I taught first grade. Yes, he sat in my classroom 11 years ago and now he’s much taller than me and flying solo in an airplane! I just about needed my step stool when I reached up to give him a big hug.

Until Next Time!

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